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xx (Digipack) CD

176 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (17 Aug. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: XL
  • ASIN: B002DESIE6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,443 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Debut studio album by the English indie pop group. The album features the singles 'Crystalised', 'Basic Space', 'Islands' and 'VCR' and won the 2010 Mercury Prize.

BBC Review

The xx, like Burial’s William Bevan and Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden, studied at Elliott School in Putney, a pleasant south-west London suburb. But on the basis of this sleek debut this ice-cool quartet could surpass the achievements of their secondary school alumni.

Naming an album opener Intro prepares listeners for low expectations, so it's a great surprise when the track snakes in with a tightly coiled riff initially reminiscent of Casiokids' ace Fot I Hose. It doesn't turn into an immense house-echoing banger like the Norwegians’ tune, but when beats do arrive they're heavy enough for dubstep.

If Intro is a template for xx's simple, minimalist songs, VCR sets a precedent for winning vocal interplay between Romy Madley Croft and bassist Oliver Sim. With Jamie Smith's simple chiming production suggesting a nod to Brooklyn wonders Chairlift, Croft emotes breathily: “You used to have all the answers and you, you still have them, too.” Sim, meanwhile, sighs like a regretful Lou Reed.

A seemingly unlikely influence it may be, but amid the deep house beats of Island, the melody from Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down makes an appearance. Despite the incongruity, the motif evokes a sense of quiet triumph.

Fans of the midnight guitar in Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game will appreciate Infinity. While reverb-swollen chords drift by, Croft is hell-bent on mimicking Mazzy Star chanteuse Hope Sandoval in front of the microphone. And she succeeds beautifully.

Every song here is an enigmatic and moody blend of smoky crooning, nimble keyboard trickery and slippery treble-heavy riffs. Such self-awareness and focus is commendable given so few experienced bands, let alone newcomers, can manage it.

Yet xx’s consistency is also its sole undoing. The xx have perfected one formula but appear scared to develop any more, wary of branching into different tempos or styles. Fortunately this fault is not fatal – after all, many successful bands, from Oasis to AC/DC, have only ever had one killer idea.

Whether The xx plough on in the same noir direction of this debut or pursue new tangents, it must be hoped the Londoners are able to maintain their affecting hold on the listener whatever the stylistic surface. --Lou Thomas

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 63 people found the following review helpful By I'mdowntheshed! on 30 Nov. 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Well I'm 51 and still appreciate all genres of modern music, and I really like this album. I first saw and heard The XX on 'Later with Jools Holland' and their atmospheric music just leapt out of the TV at me. Next day, after checking out more of their tracks on You Tube I bought the album. I really like this music for its innovative and fresh feel. Yes okay it's simple and laid back (brilliant music to relax by), but it's a completely new and different sound, and that's the genius of it. I hope their recent tour supporting Florence and The Machine gives them the extra exposure they richly deserve.
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122 of 152 people found the following review helpful By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Aug. 2009
Format: Audio CD
Scatty and Gritz (the cubs) brought this one home
from school and have been playing nothing else over
the past week. They've dumped their hoodies (it was
red bandanas before that!) and reverted to basic black.
They also seem to be reading Schopenhauer again
- their Mother's influence not mine I hasten to add.
I seem to have found something to like in this music too.

The xx are a somewhat po-faced but very talented
little combo from South London. This debut collection
of 11 compositions is relentlessly and uncompromisingly
single-minded in its sustained intensity.
It's hard to imagine them sitting around together
drinking cider and watching Father Ted re-runs.
This is much more Jacques Brel and absinthe territory !

Seriousness becomes them.

The combined vocal contributions of Ms Croft and
Mr Sim create a charmingly laconic ambience.
There is a total absence of frenzy. In fact nothing
much happens throughout in the nicest possible way.

'Infinity' is a splendid composition. The closest
thing to a climax in the entire project.
The spirit of Hank Marvin might well be smiling in the wings.

'Night Time' is a marvelously morose little ditty
and for my money its starkly economical, pared-down,
minimalism is the album's gloomy highlight.

Jamie Smith's beats and Baria Qureshi's well-judged
keyboard interventions are entirely complementary to
the centrally positioned Croft/Sim double-act.

Concluding track 'Stars' made me remember acutely
what it was like to be young and intense and delirious
with dark and serious dreams.

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Janie Reader on 12 Aug. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Now this is a rare gem. As opposed to alot of the mainstream generic sound we listen to; which even though I do love and appreciate. It does get a little lifeless and just plain bland. This is so refreshing as it requires you to engage with it just like you would with a good book or film. The bold elusivness of the case alone just encourages you to interprete it as you will. Every song sounds individual and flowed like individual stories to me. The album was sort of like a journey that you embark on. Sort of shaped to your narrative. Its powerful and atmospheric. Like "Fantasy" in particular is just deep, dark and foreboding. Ultimatley I just feel the album is an intense emotionally charged ride but at the same time equally; you can just kick back to it and relax. I would recommended it to anyone who is looking for a unique experience.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By theone&only on 29 April 2010
Format: Audio CD
I thought variety was supposed to be the spice of life? Not to this London lot. I bought this album after hearing their chilled out dark, indie-pop on some late night TV show and thought I had seen the future of guitar music.
On buying the album I was a little disappointed to find the album to be very one-dimensional. 'Intro' and 'VCR' start things well but as song after song, sung in the same dull monotone, continue things begin to blur into one. By the time we get to single 'Basic Space' I was feeling suicidal to be honest! There are some good points - the beats are sublime and well produced as are the exquisite basslines.

I have listened to this record maybe 15 times now and am still as bored. Once you get past the NME hype you realise that this is just yet more dark, dreary, guitar ploddery posing itself as intelligent mood music. Listen and see what I mean - every song is at the same slow tempo pretty much, both singers ranges seem to encompass about 4 notes and the songwriting skills need plenty more development. Here's hoping they find it because the dynamic of the band is there. More variety next time please !!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Avaftw on 23 Aug. 2012
Format: Audio CD
The first time I listened to the XX in 2009 when they were hyped by every music magazine or indie radio station as the new sensation they simply let me cold. I listened their debut album only once and I didn't get any interesting line or melody out of it. Only washed out pop songs without any climax.

I re-listened them accidentally one year later and only then they reached my heart. They really did! Maybe it's more subtle music but actually this made me fall for them. In particular the duo vocals was something new to me and so fragile and melancholic in every single song. The melodies went into my memory only after several listenings but lasted until now! I had a pre-listen to their new album Coexist which gave me the same impression like their debut album at the beginning. I was bored by no climax. Maybe the XX takes time to stay in your mind, but if so, it is etched on your memory!
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