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.