The xx – xx Review
The best album artwork of the year? I’d go as far as to say yes. The simplistic X in white on black, it’s highly evocative and definitely helps to paint a picture as to what the album itself actually sounds like. It’s got a sense of purity amongst darkness, a high contrast in music that is beautiful, an oft-times downright dirty bass line and vocals that hiss at and soothe the listener simultaneously.
The highly sheened and polished low key beats work well together to produce an actual pitch-perfect, thoroughly brilliant album. Songs like “VCR” and the first single, “Basic Space” are both fantastic in their lyrics as well as in the painfully slow and beautiful music. This is music to cherish, to revel in it’s upmost importance and brilliance. Even the first, nearly-instrumental song, “Intro” is brilliant, in fact I would go as far as to say this the best opener I’ve heard all year. It’s like listening to most over-produced R&B act and whilst listening to a band with lyrics as depressing as The Maccabees or Noah and the Whale.
My favourite song however, is probably the one I heard first, given away as part of itunes free single of the week deal. It is the frankly exceptional Crystalised (Download) It begins perfectly and doesn’t crescendo in a wall of noise like you’d expect from the opening because it doesn’t need to! The xx’s two vocalists sing in and around each other like warring ex-lovers. But ones that are totally calm. It’s like recalling a past argument, going other what happened and telling someone else. The last lines of “Go slow” repeated too, are utterly chilling.
To conclude, this is an essential album of the year, undoubtedly will be a Mercury come the 2010 competition. It’s also the perfect antithesis to the emergence of noise pop and lo-fi. I love bands in those genres, but this album shows the deep quality of high production values. Get it now, you’ll be missing out otherwise.