The XX - XX
In an era of “Indie” bands, it’s tough to regain the slightest sense of originality yet surprisingly The XX have come along with a stunning album, oozing originality and quite frankly there are no comparisons to be made! Opening song, ‘Intro’, becomes a ghostly instrumental introduction to what becomes an equally atmospheric album.
First single ‘Crystalised’ is stunning from the first two bars of guitar bringing in the haunting feel of a song which rolls along propitiously yet somewhat tentatively, a song which truly is like nothing else you would have heard before. Equally stunning is ‘Islands’, a rather more up-beat love song, whilst still hinting at the certain melancholy simmering throughout the album. In fact, the whole album travels at a quite pensive pace; there is a deep thoughtfulness throughout each track with each seeming of an imminent importance yet the whole album still has a general chilled out and relaxed feel. ‘Basic Space’, the band’s recently released single, begins with beats which ultimately portray almost dubstep influences which further illustrates the uniqueness of ‘XX’; it is an album which has been influenced by so much.
With New Wave hints in certain songs, elements of indie guitar and vocals with such depth and soul, influenced by R&B, this is certainly an album by a band who do not wish to fit into any genre; illustrated further by the fact the album was produced by The XX’s main man, beats and samples producer, Jamie Smith. This is clearly a band who work very well together, with lead vocals continually shared between Romy and Oliver of the group, whose contrasting voices beautifully complement each other. This is perfectly illustrated on the last song on this 11 track album, ‘Stars’, where the atmospheric vocals envelope one another creating a deep, meaningful discussion; the repetition of vocals is beautifully crafted whilst the song just flows freely.
This is an album which is undeniably ahead of its time, yet strangely enough it is an album which is also undeniably timeless; it is definitely one of a kind and unlike any other indie album prior. For a band that incorporate such a variety of differing musical influences into their music, they are incredibly original and undeniably the only band they sound like are themselves. Managing to avoid the mass hysteria that usually surrounds new bands The XX are somewhat intriguing, upping the ante on the indie stakes, creating an album which has more atmosphere than it even seems possible to create in one album and is a pure gem of originality. Could this be a new era for music? The XX certainly seem to be proving this with immense significance.