The XX are a curious ensemble. An odd bunch to look at, but with a refreshingly unique and highly stylised sound. Perhaps, on the surface, not the sort of group one would presume to form an artistic association with such as the BBC’s Philharmonic Orchestra. However, having thoroughly enjoyed their latest record Coexist, I notice an elegance to the simplicity of the songs on the record, and a sound deep enough to complimented by the grandeur of an orchestra.
The album is dark, spacious and relaxed with an air of sophistication resounding throughout. Most songs, at first, feel as though they could sit perfectly alongside everything from the old record. Yet, it is a much slicker production, carefully considered, well thought through, with some delightfully creative quirks. My favourite point of intrigue on the album is the use of steel drums on the song Reunion. It’s a record that sounds like the XX and no-one else, it feels so unique that outsider intrusion would only make it worse off, but entirely suits the compliment of the carefully used orchestra.
Applause is apt indeed. But for no selfish gain the band take to the stage. They just get on with the job of contriving the sounds able to be produced by their instruments into the shape of their songs. A humble band, unobtrusive, polite and maybe even a little bit shy, as they play for the audience and no-one else. Watch, let the band indulge you and enjoy!