In 2009, The XX released their debut, self-titled LP to massive critical and commercial success, creating a hype around the trio that hadn’t been seen since The Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s broke out in the early 2000’s. The three members – Romy Madley-Croft, Oliver Sim, and Jamie xx – were barely out of high school when their debut skyrocketed to unprecedented proportions, selling over a million copies and becoming one of the most lauded albums of the year and even the decade. While most critics and fans were ambivalent about their sophomore LP, Coexist, 2017’s I See You is an amazing third effort that captures the same youthful longing as their debut, but with far more emphasis on Jamie xx’s production. It’s a true departure from their lo-fi aesthetic, with the album’s many infectious dance-pop tracks, but it retains The xx’s signature sounds through familiar lyrics and hushed vocals.
I See You seems to ride the wave of Jamie xx’s 2015 release ‘In Colour’, an upbeat dance album that used a variety of musical samples and quirky vocal collaborations that culminated in a kaleidoscopic, creative blend of genres that made the LP one of 2015’s best. It seems that after his debut, Jamie xx has continued to develop his signature style of production, uninhibited by convention or adherence to The xx’s lo-fi past, to reach his creative peak on ‘I See You’. Lyrically, Madley-Croft and Sim seem far more assertive and confident in their attempts to capture adolescent desires in the tracks Dangerous and Lips , while never losing the introspectiveness that made them young superstars in 2009 in the tracks Performance and Say Something Loving.
Essential Tracks: On Hold, Performance, A Violent Noise, Dangerous
Words: Lee Phillip