Album Review: The xx

By on Monday, 14th September 2009 at 2:00 pm

The xx (cover)Before I listened to this album several times through the other day on the train I hadn’t heard of “The xx“, and apparently they are supposed to be lower case letters there. But as I’m doing some research on these guys to put some info before I tell you what I think of the music, there seems to be some hype for these guys, so this review is written with me (mostly) unaware as to whom this band is.

The xx are a four-piece from South London, formed in 2005. “xx” is their first full-length release, and it really is excellent. Vocals are the focus of this album, the music to accompany is ambient and stripped down to a bare minimum, without being dry and uninteresting. The whole record is a complete surprise, you’d struggle to find a genuine comparison with anyone, you’ll hear the odd familiar twang or something which you recognise but before you can decipher it the moment has passed, and to spend time trying to find similarities would be a disservice to such masterfully crafted record.

You have both female and a male vocalist, of which both feature as prominently as the other. Neither voice is particularly strong or aesthetic, but when used in the same track they almost seem to work, more often than not passing back and forth between either vocalist, with very strong lyrics throughout.

Stand out track for myself is probably “Night Time”, though as a whole there isn’t a particularly weak track on the record. This really is an outstanding debut and I implore you to fire up iTunes or get to the shops or however you buy your music and get this record, certainly has my personal “best debut of 2009” seal of approval for the year so far. To produce such an accomplished record so early on in their career, and with them all just being aged twenty years old, it makes the record just slightly more impressive than it already was. All we need now is to be told the proper pronunciation of “The xx”. Ideas on a postcard.


Buy The xx’s debut album on iTunes or on Amazon.

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