Monday, September 28, 2009
XX is the debut album for The xx, a South West London quartet who aren’t even old enough to drink in United States. The four 20-year olds met at Elliott School in London, whose notable alumni include Hot Chip, Four Tet and dubstep producer Burial. The band consists Romy Madley Croft on vocals and guitarist, Oliver Sim on vocals and bass, Baria Quershi on guitar and Jamie Smith on sampler.
The album's opening number is a 2 minute instrumental prelude into this dreamy pop album. The song is reminiscent of something you’d hear on a Pure Moods CD commercial with its new age guitar riff, tribal drum beat and chanting. “VCR” begins with a toy xylophone melody which is quickly joined by a down tempo guitar rift. The album’s second single “Crystallized,” is undeniably the album’s stand out track; commencing with a gradually increasingly high pitch “oooh” sound which becomes almost uncomfortable until interrupted by an arpeggio of guitar chords. “Islands,” is the most upbeat track of the entire track which offers some sort of hope for love.
“Fantasy” is a sensual, yet disconnected reverb heavy track that seems to serve no real purpose other than an introductory to the sultry “Shelter.” The only thing perpetual about “Infinity” is Sim’s persistence in pleading Oliver to “give it up.”Oliver repeatedly refutes with a soft, almost desensitized “I can’t give it up.” The last track entitled “Stars” begins with a heavy bass line which seems like it’s going to go in the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer.” After a few strums, the beat is abruptly consumed by a sequence of three piano notes which play over and over throughout the song.
This overtly sensual and slow-strummed album encompasses a theme relating to relationships, feelings, and love, and has become a personal favorite. I look forward seeing The xx when they open up for Friendly Fires at the Mohawk on Thursday, November 19. You can buy your tickets at the door.