Jamie Stewart used to smoke the hair of his fans and painted posters with his very own blood. Hence, it seemed only logical for the album-cover to use fan-tattoos in order to celebrate Xiu Xiu’s 10th anniversary. This kind of passion is typical for the band as well as its fans. The latter won’t be disappointed, especially since Xiu Xiu continue to work on their discourse-pop, situated somewhere between celebrating their own marginalization and political incorrectness. After having greeted all the misfits, castoffs and the ones beaten by life with »Hi«, topics of older songs are being revived, and the band’s history is being told coherently. »Black Drum Machine«, for example, is continuing the story about molestation and incest told in »Black Keyboard«. In his Lyrics, Stewart always tries to combine seemingly political correct positions with personal experiences and thereby shows the absurdity of it all, best proven in »I Luv Abortion«. The musical form doesn’t try to please superficially, either, there are barbs and edges everywhere: between soft piano-chords, banging electro- or computer-game-sounds are breaking through – but all that with keeping a melodic pop-appeal in mind. The whole thing is being kept together by Stewart’s exalted voice, which can cover basically anything between hysterical screeching, anthem-like pathos and empathetic aspiration. »Always« is more than worthy for being the band’s anniversary album.