the xx – I See You
In the middle of this ‘fake news’ era, I considered turning a review of the xx latest album I See You into an article full of Trumponian lies, make up greasy gossip stories to clickbait the hell out of it and then burn it to the ground. Or just write a 400-word long joke, using the track titles to tell a boring story about how Hall and Oates got through the 80’s… Now let’s leave that as a hint – go listen to the album and discover where the xx used this good old man-eating H&O sample.
Since the release of the band’s second album Coexist back in 2012, Jamie xx of course released his solo album In Colour, while other band members took up some co-writing to keep themselves busy.
It took 4 years before the trio came back with new material.
From the get-go, the British group that failed to impress me when they played mid-day at an open-air festival in my hometown almost a decade ago now decided to use triumphant trumpets to wake everyone up on the album opener Dangerous.
And, taking it for face value, from the eclectic synth-pop of A Violent Noise, the radio-friendly melodies on Say Something Loving to the highlight On Hold, the xx seem to leave a brighter, and more colourful mark.
Don’t be fooled by just the music and melodies though. The hesitation in the lyrics, for example the contemplation in Replica – potentially reflecting Sim’s personal feelings and experiences – or the absolutely danceable start-stop relationship pondering in On Hold show that the xx fully embrace the idea of opening up to the listener, putting us in this slightly awkward position. You can’t dance to misery, personal problems or sadness – or can you?
Where you might have expected a very heavy pop-EDM album (based on Jamie xx’s recent work), tracks like I Dare You actually take listeners a step away from the Calvin Harris eardrum harassment, slowing the pace significantly down while setting us up for the atmospherically gloomy album closer Test Me.
With I See You, the xx achieve to further develop their signature sound even without really taking too many risks. It’s the R&B inspired indie-guitar-dance-pop-xx-thing with intertwining vocals that make this 40-odd minute album a very likeable record.
Say Something Loving
A Violent Noise
Brave for You
I Dare You
the xx – I See You is out on January 13th via Young Turks.
The R&B inspired indie-guitar-dance-pop-xx-thing does it's work on I See You.
You might also like
Everything Everything’s first album Man Alive was a gloriously quirky anomaly which provided just enough math to not rock Battles’ boat, just the right amount of Hot Chip humour and
I Am Oak is Thijs Kuijken, or Thijs Kuijken is I Am Oak or, well… you get the point. Besides being a talented photographer (he for example did the artwork
Sitting in the sun with a nice cold drink on a Tuesday afternoon… That’s not something new for me really. However, this routine of mine got a little messed up