xx

Studio Album by released in 2009
xx's tracklist:
Intro
VCR
Crystalised
Islands
Heart Skipped a Beat
Fantasy
Shelter
Basic Space
Infinity
Night Time
Stars

xx review

The XX: a new name in the music world

That’s a mystery what The XX members meant when they called their band this way? It is hardly likely that we will get an answer in a clear form for the majority of musicians prefer to keep communication with the audience through their music and lyrics. Well, it took us four years to wait till The XX released their debut long player after their assembled, which finally made us able to see what the band is like and what the members want to give us. The group followed the old and good tradition and give the album its own name, yet, for the sake of originality, dropped The. It is cleat that any performer’s first full-length record is far more than just a collection of songs recorded in a studio and issued by a label. It’s a kind of greeting referred to the potential listeners, an artist’s introductory word. The debut studio work helps its maker meet the audience and it’s not the case when the first impression is deceptive, yet it’s a situation when the first impression is lasting. Should the young performer stumble while making the first step, his or her further career may fall under a big question. Seems like the members of The XX took this aspect into consideration and thus delivered an awesome album showing their best side.

The XX album’s astonishing atmosphere

It is before the last song of XX when you might easily fall into forgetfulness and believe you’re in catholic cathedral or in a remote mansion, of course, deep in the woods and late at night. Words are weak to explain this because an atmosphere like that is not what you expect from an indie-rock piece, yet this one is produced so that the sensation of solitude and isolation is about to stay with you during all the fifty minutes that the album lasts. Since we touched upon the production, it is essential to say that these functions were taken up by the musicians themselves, which would give them credits as the work is done perfectly. You might take for example the guitar arrangements having echo-like effect, which strengthens your feeling of standing right under the dome of the temple. Praise should be given to the vocalists, Oliver Sim and Romy Croft, whose vocal parts substitute each other in such a manner that we become unwillingly (yet to our gladness) witnesses of a tell-tale conversation between two dramatic personages. The classic instrumental Intro is followed by the first vocal track VCR shaping up the mood of the rest of the record. Among the other compositions, you are likely to notice the single Crystallized drowning you into the chill of the England morning. The guitars in Infinite stubbornly remind you (but not copy!) those of Chris Isaac’s glorious Wicked Games. Musically simple Basic Space built upon the electronic beats crashes into your memory thank to the singing of both vocalists. Finally, you will like Shelter with its trip-hop rhythmic structure perfectly matching the singing of Romy who demonstrates all her talent here.

Debut of the year?

So, if you decide to have at least one of the 2009 year’s best efforts, you should not hesitate to get XX. Its makers, The XX, seem real masters of atmosphere. If you entrust them with your mood, it would take them less than an hour to bring you to a different amazing world. It’s hardly heard during rush-hours in a city running crazy. It is hardly seen in the flux of people, information and thoughts with everything subtle, gentle and untraceable unnoticeable. Yet this world gains its vivid shapes at nighttime when everything that sounds is silence. Skilful in controlling your emotions, the musicians do not resort to sophisticated music patterns, but they endow each instrument with its own soul and voice. Everything here is a part of harmonic combination and recorded so professionally that it makes you feel like the music sounds deep inside of you. If you’re driving a car outside the town towards the setting sun; or if you’re roaming down the desert street at an early morning hour; and finally, if you’re still sitting at the computer at a late night time, when music is the escape, then XX is your choice. It is usual that we forgive many mistakes made by beginning musicians and do not judge their debut efforts severely. But even if you do want to find faults with The XX’s first album, you have to work really hard. These guys know so well what the listener wants and how it should be served that you might easily believe that this is not at all their debut world. What is left to do is to hope that The XX discography will be regularly enlarged with albums of the same unsurpassed quality of XX.

Alex Bartholomew (07.09.2009)
Rate review4.74
Total votes - 661


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