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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 30 November 2009
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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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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on 12 August 2010
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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on 3 September 2009
This album is perfect commuter escapism. There are only about one or two albums a year which I can just listen to over and over again and this is my 2009 record. This is just one of those albums which just sounds better through headphones on the move. I wouldn't go as far as saying that this album can be grouped in the chill out genre but it is fantastically peaceful.

This time last year I was addicted to Burial's 'Untrue' and I can honestly say that if you enjoyed that record for its ability to make you lose yourself in its minimal and haunting sound, you'll love 'xx'. Interestingly, this young group met at the same London school which was attended by Hot Chip, Four Tet and Burial himself. The female and male vocalist harmonise and complement each other superbly on every track but, for me, stand outs are 'VCR', 'Basic Space' and the recent iTunes single of the week, 'Crystalised'. The smooth female vocals make me imagine a beautiful love child of Bjork and Zero 7's Sia Furler (you can decide whether you think that is a good combination or not!)The bassist creates a ghostly but melodic rhythm which features throughout which reminds me of Massive Attack's 'Danny The Dog'. What really impresses me is the way the group have maintained a constant and original sound without feeling the need to throw in a few tracks to change the mood. Some may dismiss this album as monotonous but the whole thing works for them and it flows as if it could be a film score much like Burial's 'Untrue'.

If you are looking for a refreshing change to the chart topping indie groups and wish to support genuine young British talent you should BUY this album. You will not be disappointed.
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on 18 August 2010
I had heard so much about the XX but not yet given the music a listen, being a pessimist I tend to expect that the rave reviews are from the too cool for school kids and being 30 now tends to mean I don't get it all any more :D... then I heard Crystalised on the radio and got hooked!! Took the plunge and bought the album from amazon as it was about [...] when i got it so no risk there! Took about 3 or so listens which is about what a great album should take, 1 then its too easy (mainstream pop) and you'll get bored easily, it will be on the pile in no time. This is one you need to hear late at night on a drive, collapsed out on your bed in the dark in some good headphones so you get every whispered lyric, hear every bass note that throbs, every tingling guitar note. Seriously from start to finish its amazing and I don't think I have heard a more perfect album in maybe 5 years. Can't recommend it enough, actually don't want to go into more detail than that. Music is about discovering an album in different scenarios. Sometimes you can hear an album one day when you are in the wrong mood and you put it aside and 4 months or a year later you find it again and put it on and its the most perfect album you've ever heard. Don't wait that long, stick it on, but make sure you hear it in it's entirety and then again and again..

References are obvious with new order, the cure and some eighties electronic bands that you never thought you would hear sound so fresh today. Which I always loved, but don't be put off if you don't like those, if you liked crystalised by the XX you will love the rest of the album. P.S try XX's mix of you've got the love (florence version) it's amazing, stripped back and gorgeous! But i can't find it on amazon sadly. Thank you XX :)
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on 3 December 2009
I've been listening to this album since Rob da Bank kept banging on about how good they were. They're definitely one of the more alluring sounds I've heard in 2009 - kind of like a stripped back Lamb with a bit of Hot Chip in there, maybe a smidge of Bat for Lashes too? All quite minimal, breathless, lingering - its low-fi, shoe-gaze music, appropriate for sultry late night liaisons.
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on 17 August 2009
Sublime first album from this London quartet, an atmospheric and chilled out journey through their own Bassy yet melodic world. This self produced album is very much their own, picking up influences from plenty of genres including trip-hop, R&B, and Dubstep but always keeping it original, with beautiful interplay between the male/female lead vocals. Emerging from the same south London comprehensive as the likes of Four tet, Burial, hot chip and the Maccabees, The XX are none of these, while often reflecting some of the best bits of them all.

A breath of fresh air...
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on 19 April 2012
Positive reviews suggested this was something worth listening to, but for me, the album gets very repetitive when listening to it all the way through. Would probably sound fine on your ipod shuffle but a lack of variety makes this album very dull, while the vocals are incredibly dull and the lyrics rather uninspirational. Musically, it doesn't go anywhere either.

The sparsity of the sound attempts to create an atmospheric sound but there's nothing atmospheric to it at all. While many bands do this and pull it off spectacularly (The National, Unforgettable Fire era U2, Murmur era REM and Radiohead), you feel as if The XX are falling well short of that haunting qualities of their peers.

Not at all haunting, just extremely dull.
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on 20 April 2010
The Xx are direct descendants of a previous generation of dark, moody bands using heavy bass, stripped-down arrangements and whispered vocals. They are the polar opposite of similarly-troubled pop romantics Scouting For Girls. But, whereas the Scouts wear their hearts on their brightly-coloured sleeves, The Xx hide theirs under a thick, black velvet cloak. Young Marble Giants, Durutti Column and early Cure are obvious influences. But, The Xx do provide a unique take on this minimalist style. The girl/boy singing duo of Romy and Oliver greatly increase the range and variation of the songs and the lyrics are not quite as obscure as some of the songs from the earlier cited influential bands. This makes for an instantly accessible musical collection.

Highlights are many. The beautifully crafted `Crystallized' is a hugely evocative description of the twisted tangle of emotions between two people who are in love but scared of destroying this love by trapping each other. 'If you love someone, set them free' is the summary, but the lyrics expand on this thought with great subtlety. The verse where both singers interplay to express their side of the relationship is the lyrical highlight of the album ... "Placid as I melt into the sea (Things have gotten closer to the sun), I wish the tide would take me over (And I've done things in small doses), I've been down onto my knees (So don't think that I'm pushing you away), And you just keep on getting closer (When you're the one that I've kept closest)".

`Heart Skipped a Beat' describes the pain of a separation between two people who still *sometimes* need each other but realise that such an occasional desire is not enough to sustain the relationship. They want more - or at least one of them does ... "And I was struggling to get in, Left waiting outside your door, I was sure, You'd give me more." The song features a beautifully played harp (or mandolin) that cascades through the track. It evokes the romance that once flickered, but is now slowly disappearing.

Other standout tracks are 'Night time' and 'Stars', but there are very few weak songs here and the whole album is so consistent that it can easily be played from beginning to end without having to skip any tracks. Hugely atmospheric and with just the right production gloss added to avoid detracting too much from the beautiful simplicity of the songs. Play this in a darkened room with the sound turned up very loud. But don't worry, you won't upset the neighbours - it's not that sort of album. It's time to enjoy being miserable, again!
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on 29 April 2010
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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