The xx: I See You (Young Turks)

 |   |  1 min read

Lips
The xx: I See You (Young Turks)

The verdict came in very quickly in the case of this album. After their stellar 2009 debut xx –which won them Britain's Mercury Prize, an award often out of synch with taste and commercial success – came the somewhat lesser but still interesting Coexist in '12 (a case of more of the same but less so) which meant this one could be make-or-break.

Right from the economic opener Dangerous, their electro-pop is a step up and outward with singers Jamie Smith -- also the smart producer again -- and Romy Madley Croft exuding a confidence in both themselves and the more embellished pop.

And where once there was space sometimes just for the sake of it now their musical palette is more dense (although still restrained) and colourful.

Take just A Violent Noise by way of example which opens with the sparest of synth'n'beats behind Oliver Sim – the third member of the triumviratee – who sounds ill at ease before the more assuring Madley Croft enters, the beats become more aggressive and you sense when Sim returns, still fragile, that he is an isolated figure on the dancefloor, terrified within by the requirement to be sociable, clubbing and in strange company.

It's possible to finely slice each of these 10 tracks (Performance is another where uncertainty and the need to “put on a show” is at the emotional core of an impressive sonic landscape discreet and spacious) and admire the individual components of beats, samples (the Alessi Brothers in the opening passages of Say Something Loving!) and clever arrangements which juggle silence with sound.

And of course those lyrics replete with ideas of uncertainty and inadequacy, sometimes in the face of affection and love.

Those emotions have rarely sounded as appealing as they are here on an album where the jury does not need more time to reflect.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Jonathan Richman: Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild (Vapor Records)

Jonathan Richman: Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild (Vapor Records)

Some people know Jonathan Richman for being the singer-songwriter in the terrific New York new wave band The Modern Lovers -- although their "terrific" period was short-lived, in truth... > Read more

Scott Walker: Bish Bosch (4AD)

Scott Walker: Bish Bosch (4AD)

Some musicians are revered, reviewed and written about, but rather less listened to. Put Scott Walker at the top of that list. This is only his fourth album in the past three decades and... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Richard Harris: A Tramp Shining (1968)

Richard Harris: A Tramp Shining (1968)

Because there is a such a lot of great music about these days -- and of such overwhelming diversity -- you'd sound like you were wallowing in nostalgia if you suggested things were better in the... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . HP LOVECRAFT: High, here and gone.

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . HP LOVECRAFT: High, here and gone.

Now, I'm neither ashamed nor proud of this, but some while back – decades ago – I enjoyed perpetrating pranks and hoaxes, especially postal pranks. Of the latter I would, for... > Read more