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xx (Digipack) CD

4.2 out of 5 stars 190 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 (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,154 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
1
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2:07
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2
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VCR
VCR
2:57
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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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
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Ever since I heard 'Intro', I wanted to hear what The XX were capable of creating. The CD doesn't disappoint at all, and between 'Islands', 'Night Time' and 'Crystalised', this album definitely passes the more-quality-than-filler test. The music *may* get a little monotonous to the easily-bored, but I'll eagerly wait and see what else the band can produce before typecasting them.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
Ordered one which kept skipping then return and ordered again and exactly the same thing happened, very disappointing as I have now had to go elsewhere and it was a gift for someone so has been a let down
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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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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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Format: Audio CD
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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Format: Audio CD
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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I first heard about XX from an magazine article. This - their first album - is received lots and lots of hype. I'm always suspicious of this but decided to give it a listen. I can honestly say it's great. I now hear the title instrumental track all over the place - in ads and on TV programs. My only complaint with this is the track(7-8 I think) that, near the end, raises the volume of my speakers to unnecessarily loud level. This is bad. Their second album is very much like this so if you want more of the same you could buy that too. Although, it's still not as good as this one.
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