Review of The XX's album XX released through Young Turks.
If all else fails for The XX, they could probably find themselves a job in a laboratory somewhere. Xx is heavy with chemistry. From the sullen sparks that fire back and forth between Romy and Oliver's vocals, to the coloured steam rising off of the rumbling bass lines, Xx makes for highly emotive listening.
It may not be an obvious reference for a band that have risen through the ranks at the ultra-hip Young Turks label, but the influence of R&B plays a huge part in the melodic structure of the songs. Not only have they covered Aaliyah's 'Hot Like Fire' and produced a heart-stopping version of Womack & Womack's 'Teardrops' but even in their own compositions can be heard a lead-laden version of the vocal stylings of modern and classic R&B songs. The difference is that The XX don't rely on over-burdening production to get the message across. Sparse bass lines and subtle production give enough space for the voices to do the talking.
The XX strip all that is sunshine and lightness out of pop and tarmac over it with a melancholic sheen, making for a sound that is supremely beguiling, haunting and infectious.