The xx: I See You
The xx dropped their third album this past Friday.
It’s been nearly five years between the band’s second release, Coexist, and their latest. How have they occupied their time? The band contributed music to Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby adaptation. Also, Jamie Smith (or Jamie xx) released his debut solo album, In Colours (definitely worth checking out).
I See You‘s opening track, Dangerous, begins very upbeat and dance hall-ish. It’s a pleasant surprise when you consider the tone of Coexist. The entire album relies on a heavy dose of sampled synths and MPC beats. This isn’t a bad thing as they vary each track in tempo and dynamics. This prevents the album from slipping into that droning house sound. When the bass and guitar are used, it’s more accentuating the arrangement than a driving force. I suspect Jamie xx’s debut played a big role in this album’s direction.
Tracks like Say Something Loving and Lips (to name a few) make wonderful use of Croft & Sim’s harmonies. Perhaps it’s because both singers use the lower range of their alto and baritone parts, but it shapes songs into a darker feel. Songs where Croft takes the lead have a plaintive quality. There’s a swirling reservoir of sadness and hope on I Dare You:
I’ve been a romantic for so long
All I’ve ever heard are love songs
Singing oh, go on I dare you
Oh, I dare you
This album is not a car windows down, volume cranked up, singalong. It fits perfectly with the cold, rainy weekend we just experienced. It’s not listen alone in the dark fare. The vulnerability begs you to enjoy in the company of a loved one or good friend.
Wow, I don’t know where my head is tonight.
Here’s the YouTube audio for I Dare You and you can find links to the others from it.
Here’s your Spotify: