- 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 (190 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,154 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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xx (Digipack) CD
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this as a gift and only found out now that when it arrived the vinyl skips on every song after the first one. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Georgia Carter
I had been listening to these songs on Amazon music player, and decided to buy the whole album. There's something great about listening to a complete album, start to finish,... Read morePublished 12 months ago by paul mason
BEEN 'WANTIN+AFTER' 4 YRS+'FINALLY' -as 'RECOMMENDED' THEN-But I HAVNT had 'CHANCE to 'Open NOR Play' YET !!!!Published 13 months ago by Daron