June 22, 2010

The xx - xx

The xx are four twenty-year-olds from England. Their self-title debut has received incredible reviews from almost every source. If you are familiar with Stars, and their album Set Yourself On Fire, and you kind of enjoy that album, there is a good chance that you will like The xx. Imagine Stars without their loud upbeat guitar and their instrumentals, and maybe more duets. Voila, The xx.

I seem to buy albums in pairs, and I purchased this album with St. Vincent's Actor. Why does this matter? Well, while St. Vincent goes for maxing out the noise, the instruments, and the fuzz (see Marrow), The xx is the exact opposite. They break down music to its raw basics and then rebuild, bit by bit. For instance, Intro, the well-named first song is a beautiful instrumental with a few "Oh's" and "Ah's' thrown in there. It's quite impressive actually, and very effective. And then there is VCR, which reminds me very little an old VCR with its xylophone/glockenspiel intro and gentle rhythm guitar. It introduces the duet theme, which is pretty consistent for the whole album.
Later come Islands and Heart Skipped a Beat, both very catchy with nice synthy drums and instrumentals. Unfortunately the follow-up tune Fantasy is not quite as exciting. The album proceeds in a similar fashion with Basic Space (one of my favorites) and closes off shortly after.

This band has nice sound, and although it may not always be something you can hum along to, it is definitely music you can relax to. There style is very much their own, which I admire in a time where some bands are struggling to find who they are. These guys have got it down.

8 out of 10 for this really solid, mellow debut.


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