Put A Record On: The XX Reach Perfect Harmony
September 8th, 2009 | London
The XX might look like a bunch of gloomy romantics who play industrial-tinged goth, but looks can be deceiving. In fact debut album, The XX, is a thoroughly uplifting experience. Not only does the band transcend its own physical image, but the quartet also manages to soundtrack the soulful relationship of lifelong friends.
The set-up is traditional—drums, guitar, bass and keys support Oliver Sim and Romy Madley-Croft's vocals—but their sound very much differs from like-minded peers. The album opens beautifully with atmospheric and instrumental "Intro" and The XX follow it up with calm and mature tales of loving—yet platonic—relationships. The singers have known each other since they were toddlers, and thus the songs often investigate this lifelong kinship. "Island," one of the highlights, even states: "I'm yours now, so now I never have to leave/I've been found out, so now I'll never explore."
The tempo is often slow, giving the lyrics a front row platform, but songs such as "Crystallised" feature the man-made beats that demonstrate excellent musical craftsmanship. The XX take in hip-hop, r&b (they have even covered Aaliyah's "Hot Like Fire") and pure pop, combining such disparate influences with the tried and true boy-girl vocals formula.
The XX is out now. For more information, see www.myspace.com/thexx.