Being such a deeply influential and lauded electronic act, it’s hard to believe that The xx have only released two albums in the decade that they’ve been around: xx and Coexist.
Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith have a beautiful mystique and otherworldliness about them, as if their music is wiser than regular lowly human-being music. It’s always a pleasure to hear new creations from the trio as well as Jamie xx‘s own solo project. The xx‘s production is all so balanced and nuanced that it takes on a very visual aspect to it. The contrast between light and dark, between silence and audio, between male and female.
Similar to their previous to albums, I See You is produced by their own Jamie Smith in conjunction with Rodaidh McDonald. But ‘On Hold’ is the most influenced by Jamie xx’s solo project that we’ve heard so far from The xx. Perhaps this is to do with them having recorded the album right across the world, from New York to Marfa to Reykjavik to Los Angeles to London.
The chorus is far more upbeat and lively in comparison to much of their previous work, which could be a contention point amongst The xx purists. He’s injected the track with a hip hop beat and with this, it’s like it’s been given a modern face lift. It’s actually very comparable to ‘I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)’. But I personally can’t get enough of Jamie xx, and In Colour was one of the best albums of 2016 (objectively) so there are zero complaints here.
And to the age-old fans, don’t worry, you still get the OG of layered vocals – the utterly luscious intermingling of Sim and Croft singing.
Based in: London, UK.
Upcoming album: I See You, out January 2017 via Young Turks / Remote Control.
Sounds like: London Grammar, Phantogram, alt-J.
Say what? Being from Melbourne, I definitely get The xx’s stylistic obsession with black as a “a group understanding of what looks good.“