After a five year long wait The XX are back with their new album ‘I See You’, which a lot of their fans have been clamoring for quite a while. It seems after their self-entitled first record they have become a very special band in the UK, although they may not be so widely recognized, the people who do listen to them seem to have a really strong bond to the music they create, as they have created a unique sound which is hard to mimic. This is the main reason why the band has become so important, and why this album is so anticipated.
The album starts with the rather upbeat ‘Dangerous’ and immediately grabs you by the ears. It was strange to hear such an upbeat song to introduce to the album, but it was a pleasant surprise especially with brass sounding off in the background to give it a different sound to the rest of the songs.
This is something that The XX do brilliantly as they always seem to get the measurement right, they never overcompensate or drown out a song with one element. Each song is so well produced and though out that they very rarely get it wrong.
After the opener, the album tones it down and slows the pace bringing you into classic XX territory which can only mean good things. They lay songs like the silky “Say Something Loving”, “A Violent Noise” and “Performance” in front of you to fall in love with. Each song has a sense of vulnerability and emergency to it, as Romy and Oliver subtlety bringing out each other’s insecurities which provides a great platform for each of the tracks.
Another great track from the album which demonstrates this insecure persona is “Brave For You”, which is delivered with such heartfelt vocals. Romy performs this song perfectly, as you almost expect to break into tears midway through, easily one of the best tracks on the album.
Following that song is the upbeat sound of “On Hold” which also has a delicate topic at the heart of it, however they contrast this with an infectious dance-like beat. The hook line to the song “Every time I let you/ I always saw you coming back to me/when and where did we go cold/I thought I had you on hold” is such memorable that you only have to hear it once or twice and then its ingrained on your brain. The catchy one liners and lyrics are a common theme throughout the album, as “I dare You” has similar qualities, albeit less upbeat.
The album finishes up with slow and passionate “Test Me”, coming from a dark place it once again, it makes you feel insecure, alone and it’s perfect. The simplistic sounds used for the song really put a spotlight on their tortured vocals, which Romy and Oliver conquer once again.
The album is a triumph easily trumping their second release Coexist and coming very close to their beloved first release XX. After the second album there were some doubts whether or not the bands style could carry over three albums, however they’ve proved their doubters wrong by creating a beautifully crafted third album which easily gain recognition quickly.
Words By Alex Wise @AJWise