The xx’s latest album ‘I See You’ speaks to the melancholy hipster in everyone
The xx’s debut album “I See You” released Friday, Jan. 13 with a sound molded by their signature electric-indie-pop style.
After a five-year hiatus, The xx’s “I See You” shows the progression of the band from their 2009 album “xx.”
Members Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith (aka Jamie xx) began the journey to their current sound inside a garage in a London residential district. They used the space to practice at night, contributing to their quite beats and soft tone.
The first track, “Dangerous” offers a cool trumpet sound and upbeat mood. Around three minutes into the song, there is a nice switch up of pace.
“Say Something Loving” was a single released as a teaser for the album earlier in the year. It has a cheery tone with a brief intro. The lyrics are easy to follow, but personally it loses by interest until the last 30 seconds.
With a smooth intro, “Lips” slowly builds into a methodical beat. The electronic rhythm gives the song a more intense feeling. I especially love the fact that the song ends abruptly.
“A Violent Noise” has a great melody but, just the same as “Say Something Loving,” it becomes a bit monotonous. This song begins with a soft tone and, as the title suggests, grows to sound more violent at about two and a half minutes.
“Performance” has a generally slow build with incredibly simple guitar work by Croft.
There is an overall mellow feeling that taxis into an excellent outro. Since it is a slow song, “Performance” is the perfect song to listen to if you want to vibe by yourself or even sleep.
“Replica” was the hardest song for me to begin to like. It sounds just like a copycat of their other songs because there’s nothing too special about it. About two minutes in, there is a good melody, but that alone was not enough to save the song.
The lucky number seven on the album, “Brave For You,” is a mind-boggling song in all the best ways. It’s a slow song with more outstanding electronic beats, supporting the dicey lyrics mixed throughout. The songs outro is my favorite part and it really ties the whole song together.
“On Hold” is my favorite song on the album. The intro starts slow but quickly builds into a fast beat. The bass work by Smith is simply captivating, earning this song endless listens from me.
A quick start, followed by Smith’s voice, leads “I Dare You” to spotlight Croft’s superb vocals and excellent guitar work. Despite the vocals, I’d like to see an instrumental version of this song.
As the final song on the album, “Test Me” proves to be yet another slow song that doesn’t appease my taste until nearly three minutes in. However, I do like the piano on this track.
Personally speaking, “I See You” is not great by any means, but it isn’t bad. I expected more from the band after not producing an album for a while.
For me, “On Hold” is the only saving grace for this album and their reputation. I feel that a few mediocre songs really brought the rest of the album down.
On the positive side, those few tracks make for great conversation breaks if you’re listening with others.