The xx are an English band formed in 2005 in Wandsworth, London. The group released its debut album, xx, in August 2009. The album was a commercial and critical success and was ranked highly on many best of 2009 lists, including number one on the list compiled by The Guardian and second for NME. In 2010, the band won the Mercury Prize for its debut album. Their second album, Coexist, was released on 10 September 2012.The band’s third studio album, I See You, was released on 13 January 2017.
Dangerous—-Beginning with a sharp blast and almost trance style beats, the vocals enter and the landscape of the beauty of this band is painted. Despite the jaunty feel to the music, the lyrics maintain a dark edge and an intensity. All the reasons I feel in love with this band. The singing, so understated in volume….plays loud in meaning and content. Fantastic. A nice cross of New Order and Portishead!
Say Something Loving—-Melding from the previous song, this track delivers a brand new landscape for the picture to be built. The vocals are exquisite…playing off of each other in a well practiced and rehearsed manner. The combination of the sedate lyrics, the beautiful voices and the understated but remarkable beats make for as close to a masterpiece of a release I have heard in a long time.There is a wonderful joy here…despite the sadness…..
Lips—-A bit odd at the onset, the proper song develops with a down tempo beat and odd effects that almost remind me of Laurie Anderson or Kate Bush. The effects and layers of vocals are incredible….there is a stark feel to the song…but at the same time the wall of sound is comforting and warm. This is wonderful!!
A Violent Noise—-Wonderfully built on a series of introductory piano notes, the vocal enters with a ghostly, lonely feel. The effects are, at the onset minimal….its hard to even hear the guitars…I zero in on the building beat from the turntable. This is remarkable….the tone so sedate and quiet…but the energy infectious and beautiful. This is a masterpiece of beauty and emotion.
Performance—-Minimalist and stark at the onset, the vocal is the star of the show…telling a tale of sadness and intensity. The slow strums of the guitars and the pseudo orchestration builds…ebbs…flows and quiets. The voice is so incredibly beautiful and sad….taking right to the place of the story…I can feel every word and every sad vocal nuance. This is what music is all about.
Replica—-With an almost space feel to the intro of the song, the chug chug of the deep bass lies underneath of everything as the once constant. The voices combine at odd but important moments…building a further landscape to the song. This is remarkable…the chorus is a huge layered wonderful journey all of its own…I listened to this track three times in a row…it has a wonderful capacity to stick in your brain. When he sings ‘ a danger to be stuck on repeat’…..well he nailed it. Fantastic!
Brave For You—-Fuller in sound right at the onset, the music fades away to allow for the beautiful almost whispered vocal. The intensity from this style is a perfect match for the musical landscape. This is a tale of remarkable support and love…I was sucked in right at the first listen. The rolling drums are incredible…the fog you feel in the backdrop fantastic. Masterpiece.
On Hold—-The centerpiece of this release and the magna opus for the band thus far, this is like no other song I have ever heard. The vocals are intense…building up to the DJ sampling Hall & Oates…you would never think it would work…but it is the star of the show. This would not be the same song without that key sampling part. This is stark…beautiful…full and leaves you so hungry for more.
I Dare You—-A great choppy beat brings this song to life…almost feeling like an extension of the previous track. this is wonderfully layered with a beat that sticks in your brain and a chorus that begs to be put on repeat. This release is truly one for the ages….The xx have come back so strong and contagious no vaccine can cure me of the love I have for this band.
Test Me—-Way to soon, this release has come to an end….I just want to lie down and beg for more of this mastery. I hope we don’t wait another 5 years for more material. This is a stark and low hum filled track that leaves you with as much melancholy as when you began….but the journey between points has been unforgettable. This is a miraculously beautiful record…please get this!!!!
***** out of 5 !!!!!