The xx- xx

I must shamefully admit that I do not like *almost all* British music. Whether it be The Who, The Arctic Monkeys, Oasis, or even The freakin' Clash, I have never felt a connection to music from across the pond for some unknown reason.

That being said, I am extremely impressed with The xx. This quartet of 20 year old Brits' debut album, xx, is reminiscent of Depeche Mode in their prime, harrowing back to the fledgling synth-pop scene of the 80's. The music is very low key; xx is a perfect album to throw on the iPod for late night writing sessions or some sensual love making. The album's composition is very smooth and settling, a dire contrast to the displacing "noise" movement that is currently sweeping indie pop with reckless abandon.

Co-vocalists Oliver Sim and Romy Madley lead the band with their harmonic, healing voices, elevating the music to a near supernatural aura. Since the band's emphasis is definitely focused on the vocals, the slow paced electronic beats on xx could not be more appropriate.

Singles from xx include "Heart Skipped a Beat," "Crystalised," and "Basic Space." My personal favorite, "Heart Skipped a Beat," is arguably the catchiest song on the album. Sim and Madley's voices contrast subtly in this track then sensually harmonize on the chorus, metaphoric of virgin sex- the theme of the song. "Crystalised" opens with alternating verses from Sim and Madley that create a conversational feel for the track. "Basic Space" is a bit more staccato than the rest of the album, yet it still feels completely in place. This goes to show the strength of xx- every track has an extremely unique sound, yet they all compliment one another perfectly. Not a single track comes off as misplaced or confused, quite an extraordinary accomplishment for a few 20 year olds that produced their own album with little guidance from music gurus.

xx has been received phenomenally well by music critics world wide since its August 17th release on Turk Records (October 20th in the states). The xx is amassing hype like the first snowball of winter, and have begin planning their first North America tour, which will assuredly feature performances on late night television shows. xx is a great album, from a young band with no where to go but up. There is a lot of opportunity to burst to stardom in indie pop, and I believe The xx will ride the coat tails of electro-centric bands like She Wants Revenge and The Postal Service to mainstream success.

Review score: 7.8 out of 10

Here's the music video for "Crystalised."

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