The xx

I See You

Young Turks

Jan 09, 2017 Issue # 59 - 15th Anniversary Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

Five years since their sophomore album Coexist, The xx has taken their sound in a new direction. While the band stuck to stripped down singles like "Angels" on their last record, the trio have taken things in a more dynamic direction this time around. In fact, it sounds like the band have taken a page out of Jamie xx's book for the first half of the record and have gone back to the simple, clean production of their debut LP for the second half of it. Throughout the album you can still hear the band's penchant for complex arrangements, dreampop vocals, and the call and response storytelling between Oliver Sim and Romy Croft. No genre is off limits for the U.K. outfit: the band experiments with pop, R&B, jazz, and even gospel this time around

I See You doesn't skimp on the samplesit's something the band builds on consistently through tracks like "Say Something Loving" and "Lips." The xx even experiments with a big band opening on "Dangerous," something ideal for the club dancefloor and a stark contrast to the minimalist LP the band put out five years prior. Midway through the album there's a shift in tonality: "Performance" serves as a harrowing intermission for the band's latest record, which seems to parallel the melancholic balladry of "Crystalised" from The xx's self-titled debut. As Croft sings, "If I put on a disguise, will you think everything is alright?" the lyrics cut like knives. You feel her pain. "Brave For You" seems to start where "Performance" leaves off, but with a gorgeous, cerebral buildup for a breakdown. In fact, "Brave For You" sounds like it could be a continuation of "Performance," lyrically and melodically.

But something the band maintains throughout their third record is their ability to take you into another world where you can feel, touch, and breathe every sound. Perhaps it's their particular use of reverb or their consistently jarring words, but after eight years as a band, The xx still expertly know how to take you on an emotional joyride. (www.thexx.info)

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