With a stark black wardrobe and understated demeanor, it would be easy enough to dismiss The xx as a trio of sullen teens (despite now being in their early twenties). However, with the release of their debut, self-produced album in August of 2009 they seemingly snuck up on critics and the music industry alike, sliding into many top album lists of the year. With minimalism as a theme in everything from the band name to album artwork to musical style, these 3 darkly clad youth left the year in music dumbstruck with their simple sophistication.
Formed in 2005, Jamie Smith operates loops and keyboards while vocalists Romy Madley Croft (guitar) and Oliver Sim (bass) collaborate on whispery lyrics that narrate teen lust at its purest. With all the synth-heavy Dance/ Pop that is dominating Top 40 radio, a subtle approach to Electronic music is a breath of fresh air. “Islands” and “Basic Space” offer the more playful side of The xx as the drum machine carves out Pop-friendly melodies. Then songs such as “Crystalised” and “Shelter” with their R&B inspired bass lines and intimate musing compel you to listen a bit closer and dive a bit deeper into the dark waters.
Is the music of The xx too simplistic for your taste? Does the idea of a drum machine make you cringe or leave you unphased?
If you like: Radiohead, The National, The Cure
Then check out: The xx
Feeling brave: Interpol, Bon Iver, Joy Division, Miike Snow
AI level: Intermediate