The XX are back with an album that see them moving closer to the egde of the dance floor – undoubtedly informed by Jamie XX’s recent experiences behind the decks – but still very much comfortable in their corner. It’s about the furthest the XX could get ever get from their debut album with Romi and Oliver’s melancholia lyricism and vocal enchantments pulling the Jamie’s productions back into familiar territory for the band.
Tracks like “Say Something Loving” and “Dangerous” bring a new high-definition of colour to The XX that we’ve never encountered before. Garage beats and arrangements that refrain from the stark minimalists landscapes the band are known for previously, set a new tone for the band, but retain that unequivocal XX thing. Tracks like “Performance” and “A Violent Noise” is the closest we ever get to a pure XX moment, like the two preceding albums, but even on those songs there’s a new quality to the music, opting for something a bit more inspiring and uplifting in the melodies and arrangements that offer stark contrasts to the two familiar voices, which continue to loiter in sadness and reverence.
“I see you” is still undeniably the XX but where co-exist might have seen the band getting too complacent, this latest album certainly has none of those qualms and see the XX covering new ground, and the group’s sonic aesthetic evolving.