Tuesday, February 9, 2010

You Should Know About The xx

I have to disclose that I don't listento new music very proactively. More often than not, I’ll put the latest buzz band on in the background while I do more important things like clean or update my Twitter status. If the music distracts me from whatever else it is occupying me, then I know for sure it’s worth listening to again. That didn’t happen with The xx. I gave the British band’s debut album xx a full two listens and even saw them live during CMJ (something that usually wins me over to the most obscure of bands) and they had yet to hold my interest. I thought it was just a bunch of guitar blips paired with vocals that Sasha Frere Jones recently described as “mopey” and that every song sounded exactly the same. But the insistence of the blogs and a few new friends convinced me to give them another chance and this time I gave them my full attention (well, I was painting my toenails).

The groove of “Intro” captured me immediately (seriously, when has “Intro” ever been the best song on an album? Download immediately!) and I was captivated until the very last notes of the disc. The songs of The xx are great pop songs stripped of all their unnecessary fluff, like chords. “Crystalised,” the first single, simply consists of songwriters Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim trading vocals over a bass line and click track. I had previously failed to notice the beauty of xx because this is an album that is meant to be listened to alone in your bedroom with the lights off, and preferably through a pair of really expensive headphones. What I originally thought of as “guitar blips” I now realize are ornaments to a foundation that is suggested rather than overtly declared and the vocals are more conversational than “mopey,” adding a train-of-thought vibe that reinforces the organic nature of the songs. Other favorite tracks of mine include “Heart Skipped A Beat,” “Shelter,” and “Night Time.”

So yes, I may be a bit late to the party, but The xx have hypnotized me and each time I listen I lean closer and closer to the speakers because there has to be something I’m missing. They can’t be this good, right? Oh yeah, they are only twenty years old.

1 comment:

  1. The XX is so delicious. Mysterious, eccentric, yet so digestably delicious.....