The long awaited return of The xx is better than we were expecting. After exploring several ways of writing lyrics and music while Jamie Smith was recording his album “In Colour” and did “a five day-road trip down the West Coast to Los Angeles with Pawson and Rodaidh McDonald, who co-produced the new album alongside Smith”, the tone of the new album suddenly appeared.
Afterwards, the album was recorded in a studio that Jamie built “behind a McDonald’s in North London”, however Jamie didn’t let anyone else hear it until they had to. And the doubts of the band were clear as they stated in the interview with Pitchfork: “There was so much pressure from ourselves about: What do people like about us? What makes us sound like us? What do we need to hang onto?” [Oliver] Sim says. “When we’re thinking like that, at our worst, we can end up sounding a bit like a parody of ourselves”. (you can check the full interview out here: http://pitchfork.com/features/cover-story/9997-ill-be-your-mirror-how-the-xx-found-themselvesand-their-vibrant-new-soundin-each-other/)
In some way, this album is a return to their roots, because there are songs quite alike to others from their first album, such as “A Violent Noise”, “Replica” and “Test Me”.
On the other hand, there are songs where Jamie xx’s blueprint is more notorious, for instance “Dangerous”, “Say Something Loving”, “I Dare You” which are very catchy. In addition, “On Hold” which uses the sample of Hall and Oates and produces interesting sounds, not only for the voices and sound but for the linking with the lyrics of the song itself.
Moreover, between their original style and the innovative direction that the band is experiencing through the talented Jamie xx, there are other experimental songs such as “Lips” and the back of “Test Me”, which its sounds remind us the style of Patrick James Grossi, aka Active Child. Something notorious is the texture of the songs that points out the remarkable effort they made when creating the album. From our perspective this is a great, one of the best of this year I might say, even though this year there will be more releases coming from several significant bands.
You can listen our favorites in this links:
A Violent Noise:
I Dare You: