THE XX-“xx”

I have to say, I wasn’t planning on reviewing this album because I saw it all over Hype Machine and lots of blogs.  When an album gets this much love, it doesn’t need the help of a midsize blog like mine.  But they sent me a free review copy, and my policy is to listen to everything submitted and review it if I think that you, my readers, won’t go wrong dropping dollars on it.

London’s The xx have a terrible name—I assumed it would either be rave or hardcore—but a terrific sound.  The band’s debut is a self-produced, highly original collection of moodie indie tunes, influenced by late 1980s R&B.  It’s heavy on bass, at least musically, which provides a great counterpoint to lead singer and guitarist Romy Madley Croft’s breathy whisper and bassist/vocalist Oliver Sim’s regular-register, almost-spoken delivery.  The vocals aren’t the stars here—it’s almost reversed: The vocals support the music.  It’s not they’re bad singers, just understated—and the music is anything but a backdrop.  Crisp basslines, hooks so light you barely know they’re there (until you hum them), laid-back percussion, and a variety of gentle sounds . . . I much prefer this kind of “real music” to the kind of cutesy electronica R&B that comes out of bands like Hot Chip.  But, clearly, these bands are of a similar stripe.

You won’t be wasting your money here.  Check it out.


Stars (demo)

VCR (demo)

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