Xiu Xiu is an acquired tase, kind-of like electro noise-mongers Black Dice. But where Black Dice barrages you with a slew of manipulated chaos sans proper vocals (just some screaming and mutters here and there), Xiu Xiu has the vocal prowess of Jamie Stewart, a singer possessing the pipes of Robert Smith with the mindset of Todd Solondz. It's not pretty. Fabulous Muscles, the band's third full-length, is filled with tales of emotional/physical/sexual abuse, severly broken relationships, and emotional instability. They're not the first band to tackle such topics, but Jamie Stewart's battered, tortured, whispered vocals are gut-wrenching, to the point where the album becomes quite difficult to listen to. Xiu Xiu has been accussed of being overly-dramatic, but Stewart knows the power of restraint, so even when his voice seems about to break, it lingers on. The album's highlight, "I Luv The Valley OH!," breaks from the synth driven rampages of "Brian The Vampire" and "Crank Heart" and the minimalist dirges of "Nieces Pieces" and "Little Panda McElroy" to deliver the most starteling departure in Xiu Xiu's catalog: a pop song. Not content to deliver any ordinary pop song, however, "I Luv The Valley" layers its jagged guitar lines with random noise and a general sense of dread. Jamie's mocking "la la la's" are a brilliant touch while his release of a screamed "OH!" in the second verse working as a nice cherry on top to an already great song. Are Xiu Xiu becoming accessible? Hardly, they're just becoming a better and better band.