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The xx's debut holds you rapt from the wordless “Intro”, with its shuffling beats, stark handclaps and slinking “ahh-ahh-ahh” refrain. From there, xx proceeds to define a new kind of electronic music. Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim’s cooing duets pair with reverberating guitar figures on the breathy intimacies of “VCR”, and Jamie Smith's minimal-but-merciless dubstep beats bolster the quiet storm of “Heart Skipped a Beat”. This LP shaped a world soft as a first kiss, stark as a tower block.

Customer Reviews

Review from the Guardian

Much was made of the various influences that went into the xx's debut album: from Aaliyah and Portishead to the spooked-out sound of dubstep. But in many ways what sets this record apart from the class of 2009 was its seeming lack of influence. Still unsure of their singing voices, still teaching themselves new tricks on their respective instruments, this stunning debut album was very much the sound of four young south Londoners (and they were young – xx is the roman numeral for 20, the average age of the band) making up the rules as they went along. In doing so, they mapped out an emotional terrain that was theirs alone.
Over the course of 11 songs, xx was an album with a psychogeographical bent, one that linked love with location. The sumptuous vocal interplay between Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim on Islands or Heart Skipped a Beat certainly made it hard to believe they weren't more than just childhood friends. Meanwhile, the lonely guitar lines that held the music together rang out from the darkness, perfectly evocative of the capital late at night. Interestingly, much of the album was recorded and mixed at night – something that shaped its half-whispered feel (in many ways, the band's most obvious peer was Burial, whose Untrue album also seemed as if it was crafted specifically for listening to alone on empty city nightbuses).
What's perhaps most impressive about this record is that a band so youthful, let loose in the studio to explore the outer sonic reaches, showed so much restraint. Rather than bombarding the listener, here was a sonic landscape in which every note mattered, every pause meant something and every half-whisper had enough emotional impact to knock down skyscrapers. On Fantasy, a solitary, effect-laden note slices right through you. On Infinity it's the single crack of a drum that jolts you, emphasising the fact that Romy can't "give it up, to someone else's touch". It was with subtlety as their main weapon that the xx seized control of your emotional dials, a calm and collected lesson in the art of less-is-more.
In a recent interview, the xx talked about expanding their sound. So much has happened to them in the short space of time since they recorded this debut that their next record can't fail to be infused with this experience. All the more reason to cherish this album, then. For this was more than just the sound of 2009, it was a distinctive musical statement of the like we may never get to hear again.

Fresh air

This is such a well rounded and paced album. From the first song intro you know what you are in for. The mixture of the two vocals is poetic and unexpected... super talented band.

Really powerful to hear pause in songs these days--the break it as important as the beat. Could be called minalimist? Stoked to run into these guys! Look forward to more!

what a fantastic find!

wow, this album exceeded all expectations, have never heard of these guys before, but if your into catchy bass with some beautiful harmonies and melodies with a sombre mix you'll love this. buy it, listen and appreciate, i am sure you'll hear more from these guys!


Formed: London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Atmospheric English indie pop group the xx formed in London around the talents of Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim, Baria Qureshi, and Jamie Smith, when the bandmembers were still in high school. Captivating and cool, the group cites influences that run the gamut from R&B (Aaliyah and Rihanna) to classic alternative rock (the Cure and the Pixies). Built around the duel vocals of Croft and Sim, the group's signature brand of moody, soulful indie rock first appeared on the public radar in early 2009 with...
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