December 3, 2009

The xx - xx (2009)

Man, nothing is sexxier than a sexxy album that never exactly references sexx outright. It's all in the subtexxt and you'll find it even if you weren't looking for it. And it will leave you wanting more.

Finally a killer album to fill that dream pop void in my life, Britain's The xx crafted a stunning debut record that is both sexy and romantic, melodic, hard when it's soft, and soft when it's hard. It's mellow and lush, tender and pretty. I like the sparse guitar, the minimalistic tinges of electronica, accidentally jazzy harmonies, and the interplay of male/female switched-up vocals between singers Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim. She sings ever so gently, while his devil-may-care vocals echo of Jim Reid and assorted indie male vocalists of yesteryear, and together with the atmospheric music makes for songs that are dripping wet with heavy mood.

It's difficult to pinpoint album highlights as each great track seamlessly flows perfectly into the next, but I can say the "Intro" has all the electricity in the prelude to a life-altering kiss. The soft xylophone mingling with Croft's resonant vocals on "VCR" inspires chills, while "Islands" is full of jazzy percussive guitar that makes me want to dance and sway in the privacy of my bedroom at night. "Heart Skipped A Beat" is a song that actually sounds just like the title, while "Crystalised," with its staccato guitars could easily be the album's best duet. "Basic Space" boasts a lazy sensuality that is best exemplified in Croft and Sim's vocal mumblings to each other in what almost sounds like a private conversation of longing. The xx really knows how to add a highly seductive quality to brooding, particularly on a track like "Shelter" that plays like a melancholy PJ Harvey song on uppers and borrows heavily the sultry guitar licks from the likes of Cowboy Junkies' "Blue Moon Revisited."

This music is romantic, sexy, ominous, electric, mellow and bluesy all at once. Fans of Azure Ray, Cowboy Junkies, PJ Harvey, Bjork, Jesus and Mary Chain, Mazzy Star, Interpol and Fiona Apple will undoubtedly want to blast this record and make-out with each other while it plays on loop. Or, at the very least, get in a dizzied excitement from talking about this music.

Favorites: "Crystalised," "Islands," "Heart Skipped A Beat," "Infinity," "Night Time." Fuck it, let's just say the whole album.


Mona said...

Apparently the album's got a bonus Aaliyah cover of "Hot Like Fire" since they're big R&B fans. Love it!

Mona said...

It's official. "Islands" is my favorite track... right now.