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Reviewed on 26th August 2009.



By The xx

This week, I have a new obsession. Whether I am walking, reading, working or simply sitting with my eyes closed, the melodic drifting subtle tones of The xx fills the atmosphere around me, occupies and claims the space between my two ears and fills me with an excited sense of being let in on a devastatingly juicy secret.

The xx, whether we are actually supposed to pronounce the two x's or not, or look upon the two crosses as a symbol of indefinable artistic space, is unclear. But all potential of pretentiousness is eliminated as soon as the confidently rolling instrumental 'Intro' hypnotises the listener into a new world of night time echoes and whispers. It is as if The xx do not want the external aesthetics of a flashy album cover or a phonetically pleasing band name that sounds good on the radio and fits nicely onto the front cover of NME. Their stripped back, refreshingly non-complex and uncluttered sound reveals that they want a lot more than to be the next MGMT.

What is brilliantly exciting is how much The xx have left in the bag. 'VCR' claims rightfully, in the exhaling dulcet tones of Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim; "I think we're superstars / you say you think we are the best thing." There is so much obvious pop potential here with soulful, but achingly simple hooks and melodies, especially heard in 'Islands' and 'Heart Skipped a Beat' which, like all the other songs on this record seem sto sum up so much in so few words and so few sounds; "sometimes I still need you" rings out with sheer sweetness and honesty.

This debut reminds us that music is at its best when it represents basic thoughts and feelings, and that you don't always need a plethora of guitars and strings and synths to achieve this. The band with almost no name proves excellently that less is more.



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On 13th September 2009 at 13:16 Anonymous 7384 wrote...

Haha, the two x's are pronounced! Glad to see five stars here for maybe my fave album of the year and certainly my fave new artist.



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