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.
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.
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.
At its heart xx is a pop record, brimming with slow-burning melodies and occasional rousing choruses.
The album will win many friends for its beautifully haunting, understated charms.
|# 18 -||Consequence of Sound|
|# 50 -||Drowned in Sound|
|# 22 -||MOJO|
|# 3 -||musicOMH|
|# 2 -||NME|
|# 25 -||No Ripcord|
|# 22 -||NPR|
|# 3 -||Pitchfork|
|# 12 -||PopMatters|
|# 7 -||Pretty Much Amazing|
|# 9 -||Rolling Stone|
|# 5 -||Stereogum|
|# 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)|