The result is sexy like early Portishead and thoughtful like Young Marble Giants—a perfectly formed debut with a genuinely new sound way beyond the sum of identifiable forebears.
They’re not magnificently written, with unspeakably beautiful melodies, and virtuoso instrumental performances, but they have an intangible spook. The XX know when to tense, when to relax.
For a debut album it’s brilliantly realised and contains not an inch of flab across its 11 songs.
xx is a fantastically innovative album, and this band is exploring new territory.
In less than 40 minutes of music, The xx have managed to offer an unforgettable debut and an album that deserves recognition come time for 2009’s year-end lists.
The xx opts for an appealing middle ground between immediacy and ambiance, and the highly sophisticated results are all the more impressive for being delivered by a foursome of 20-year-olds who have somehow acquired a knack for the kind of quietly ambitious songcraft for which some bands strive for their entire careers.
Initially hospital-tile sterile, xx rewards volume and repetition like few other albums this year.
The xx’s penchant for concision lends this material some seriously refreshing clarity, but it’d be a mistake to confuse their relative minimalism for some kind of aesthetic singularity.
The band’s resounding achievement ... is to infuse their music with melancholy without letting it lose buoyancy.
xx is a thoroughly cohesive, moving and accessible album. This young band of Londoners exhibits a level of maturity, artistry and potential that far exceeds their years.
While the band's subtlety and consistency threaten to work against them at times, XX is still a remarkable debut that rewards repeated listens and leaves listeners wanting more.
It’s strange that such a traditional set-up (drums, bass, keys, guitars, voices) has resulted in one of 2009’s most unique debuts.
The band isn’t playing catch-up against a nonexistent reputation; they expect the record to speak for itself. And it certainly does. Every song is catchy and immediately enjoyable while not noisy.
At its heart xx is a pop record, brimming with slow-burning melodies and occasional rousing choruses.
Four pouty kids from South London, barely out of their teens, the xx see nothing wrong with playing Timbaland or Jam and Lewis-style R&B with an indie band's chops.
The album will win many friends for its beautifully haunting, understated charms.
Listening to The xx’s debut album, it’s impossible not to be overcome by the sort of sublime sadness that feels like a rheumatoid ache in the heart area.
As overwrought as the lyrics are, the songs have an attractive, dreamy, atmospheric quality that helps the London band avoid embarrassing teen melancholy.
The real stand-out factor ... comes in the shape of the sublime vocal partnership between best buds Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim who sing up a sultry storm throughout these eleven hugely atmospheric offerings, complimenting each other beautifully and providing a real focal point. Dark and majestic.
|# 41 -||Beats Per Minute|
|# 16 -||Cokemachineglow|
|# 18 -||Consequence of Sound|
|# 50 -||Drowned in Sound|
|# 1 -||FACT Magazine|
|# 22 -||MOJO|
|# 3 -||musicOMH|
|# 2 -||NME|
|# 25 -||No Ripcord|
|# 22 -||NPR|
|# 3 -||Pitchfork|
|# 12 -||PopMatters|
|# 7 -||Pretty Much Amazing|
|# 9 -||Rolling Stone|
|# 5 -||Stereogum|
|# 4 -||The Line of Best Fit|
|# 48 -||Tiny Mix Tapes|
|# 6 -||Uncut|
|# 9 -||AoTY 2009|
|# 237 -||NME Top 500 of All Time|
|# 15 -||Pitchfork: The People's List|
|# 74 -||Rolling Stone (Debut Albums)|
|# 114 -||SPIN (1985-2014)|