It’s been 8 years since The xx came onto the scene with their debut album, ‘xx’, in 2009. Moody, ethereal, and brooding, the album and the trio provided listeners with just enough mystery and intrigue to leave them wanting more. Their debut single, ‘Crystalised’, was a hit with both critics and fans, and was a welcome change from the predictable indie rock that was currently topping the charts.
They toured heavily in support of that album, playing many high profile festivals in 2010, adding more live dates as they went, and retreating back into the studio in 2011 to work on their sophomore follow up, ‘Coexist’. ‘Coexist’ housed the same sparse ballads as the group’s first effort and made the most out of the awkwardness and dramatic tension that they trademarked during ‘xx’.
If you’ve been a fan of The xx since the beginning, then their latest release, 2017’s ‘I See You’ will feel like quite a dramatic departure from records before. And oh my god, they nailed it. Their third studio effort allows producer Jamie Smith (aka Jamie xx, a solo artist in his own right), to really shine and show the range that he further developed on his solo debut, 2015’s ‘In Colour’.
Touches of horns (like on standout track ‘Dangerous’), piano, and gospel and mainstream pop influences litter the record and allow for the group to expand on their sound to create something livelier and more dynamic than anything they’ve done before. Their signature bass lines, sparse guitar riffs, and vocalists’ Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim emotionally charged back and forth are still there, but come accompanied by Hall & Oates (!) samples, as well as a ton of unexpected, brighter, poppier influences, layered expertly by Smith.
‘I See You’ is a polished, complete record, that stays true to the group’s roots and earlier releases, but is richer, eclectic, more varied, and still, leaves you wanting more.
Standout tracks: ‘Dangerous’, ‘On Hold’, and ‘I Dare You’
Listen to the album below, and check out their website for a list of upcoming spring and summer tour dates.
Get the album, right now!
I See You