World Cafe

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The XX - XX - Young Turks / XL

Before you even put on your headphones, there is something mysterious and luring about the debut album from the South London band, The XX. Maybe it's their name, or the simplicity of a plain white "X" that's planted on the black backdrop of their album cover. Whatever it is that draws you in, expect to be met with a haunting album that is clever and ambitious in its simplicity.

The XX formed in 2005, originally as a four piece. They've since pared down to a trio. All members met while in school and are still just in their early twenties. The atmosphere in which they recorded their debut album, xx, seems to have had its mark on the final outcome. Often recording at night, much of the album has a quiet, ominous feel. Just listen to songs like "Crystalised" and "Heart Skipped A Beat".

Impressive on their debut is how advantageous The XX are in their use of sonic space. Their songs bring to mind the mood represented in the music of bands like Joy Division. However they're able to create their own identity weaving in hints of soul, even R&B especially on the aptly titled "Basic Space".

Equally engaging on this debut is the back and forth vocals between guitarist Romy Madley Croft and bassist Oliver Sim. The intimacy of the tales in which they tell is intensified with the male, female call and response; adding to an already growing list of reasons to get lost in this atmospheric debut from The XX.


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