I don’t think you should ever call anything hard to describe. Words exist for the sole purpose of describing things. Some languages have words that don’t directly translate into others, but you can get pretty close anyway. With The xx however, you don’t describe their music. You feel it.They set the sombre mood and you can do nothing but sink into its murky depths.
Their self-titled debut album took the world by storm. No-one expected it. Least of all them. Three scrawny teenagers got into a room, made some singles, put them together and out of it came a Mercury prize, the biggest award for pop music in the UK. Jamie Smith (otherwise known as Jamie xx), Madley Croft and Oliver Sim make up this momentous trio. Each are vastly different but they complement each other beautifully. Their new album is brilliant testament to this.
The emotion and sentiment put into their music shines through from first listen. Some times as a band, other times individually. In ‘A Violent Noise’ Oliver sings about getting tired of the night life and in ‘Replica’ he tries to escape the chemical legacy set by those that raised him. In ‘Brave for you’ Madley sings about living her life to the fullest, just like her parents would have wanted. On ‘Test me’ the trio challenge each other. No-one is a saint and no-one is a sinner but “test me”, they sing, “and see if I’ll break.”
Jamie xx is the grand architect to all that has been set. His sampling skills rival Kanye West’s and he was into the steel drum way before Drake made it commercial. After releasing his debut ‘In Colour’, he came back to the xx with renewed vigour. Energy flows through their music in a way it didn’t before. Positive energy, at least.
According to Noisey:
“The record’s title, I See You, was conjured after a band outing at a Drake concert. “He just called out to all these different people,” Madley Croft laughs. “‘I see you, in the purple jumper! I see you. …’ It was really funny but you know, it’s warm, it’s affirming that you see your friend. You feel understood and you don’t feel as alone.”
The sentiment alone describes the band that the xx is. Reassuring, slightly depressed, but still looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.
Rated: 3.9 / 5