The xx – xx (2009)
We are so overexposed to new music these days that it’s hard to keep up with the constant flow of bands coming out of the woodwork. I’ve long since given up trying to stay ahead. You go to sleep and wake up, and 1,000 new bands are kicking out the jams, and you still have the 999 you didn’t get around to hearing the day before (plus the 998 from the day before that, and so on and so forth). A few years of that and you’re buried under a million mini-moogs and telecasters and converse all-stars. Gimme a break! One new album I heard in 2009 that got me excited was the debut from London’s latest indie/electro quartet The xx. Dark, sad, moody, evocative. I like the stark minimal interplay between the instruments. The songs seem to be allowing me the time to digest them. It’s inviting for this reason alone. Amid the barrage of bands, this band seemed to be giving me the time and space to properly absorb them (in real-time). Foggy late night atmospheres ooze out of this album from the get-go. There are glowing cityscapes; dark country roads; robotic neons; vacant bus-stops; blue-lit dashboards; plans and tactics; and small claustrophobic rooms whizzing through my mind with the 2-minute “Intro”. After that, they lead, and I follow. It’s like meeting a bunch of cool dudes at a bar, and somehow you end up in their car, soundlessly cruising through empty streets snug in the backseat, and they have this cool music coming out of the old stereo, and not much is being said, but you feel you can trust them because they’re not driving too fast and the tones of the keyboard are like protective coloured skins. The guitar and bass seem to be mapping paths through your memory, leading you through strange unexpected remembrances. A guy and girl breathing brief subdued lines, slightly above a whisper, keeping things internal. So everything is welcomed. It’s turning out to be a great night. One you will look back on. ‘What about that night I met those dudes and we ended up in their car, just driving around all night…we didn’t really do anything, but it was just a great vibe…I felt safe, and I thought all these great thoughts…things weren’t going very well in my life, but I felt I could wake up and be a better person in the morning…I can’t even remember their names…but luckily I did remember to ask what the music was on the car stereo.’ It was The xx, and the album was called xx. At least you still have that.
by Decoy Spoon