I first started hearing about The xx in the fall of 2009. NPR was hyping the London-based trio as it was preparing to make its Stateside debut during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York.
Naturally, as more and more critics began singing their praises, the more and more I didn’t want to give them a listen. I had heard one or two of their songs here and there and wasn’t sure what I thought. They just didn’t seem like a band that deserved so much hype so early in their career.
But I finally gave a listen to their debut album, XX, and I was pleasantly surprised.
The first song, aptly titled “Intro”, is a pretty solid instrumental track that sets the mood nicely.
From there, the rest of the album is chock full of great ambience and nice vocal interplay between singers Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim. It reminds me of the Moldy Peaches’ stuff from the Juno soundtrack — but way more soothing and in a non-annoying tone. (That description really doesn’t do The xx justice, but it’s the best I’ve got.)
“Vcr”, one of my favorite tracks on the album, gives the listener a pretty good idea of what you can expect from the band. In it, Croft and Sim do something of a sing-speak back-and-forth with each other. It’s a theme that pops up often on the album.
You can hear the recently released single on their MySpace page, where they’ve got seven songs posted, including a couple bonus tracks.
One song not found on the site is “Shelter”, my personal favorite. The great, eerie guitar that flows throughout the album complements Croft’s vocals really well on this track.
Hear it for yourself …