The xx are a band from London, England that formed in 2005. Members include Romy Madley Croft (guitar, vocals), Oliver Sim (bass, vocals) and Jamie Smith (beats, MPC, production). I See You is their third studio album release.
I See You reaches for something grander than the band has attempted previously but ultimately drifts among its own spacious constellation of sound. Each arrangement is wide open and sparsely accentuated; minute nuances separate the majority of the tracks at their core while the more obvious differences from song to song carry the individual attitude that really sets the tracks apart from anything they’ve done before.
Most of I See You is quintessential xx dream-pop, and it seems that it is still more about what they DON’T do than what they do do – that is, how they accentuate the empty space of the song. It is what made their sound and style so appealing in the first place - and they haven’t forgotten that. They’ve employed sharp, funky bass lines and intricate choral harmonies with a distinctly more radio friendly pop-vibe sprinkled throughout the ten tracks.
Beyond the urgent pulsating rhythm of an otherwise apathetic take on NOLA club beats, the vocal back and forth between Jamie xx and Romy xx fill the void with angst, anxiety, doubt and question themselves and those they’ve trusted. Similar to those themes, the songs on the record lack a justifiable resolution. Most of the songs fade in and out of each other, sometimes with a hard intro or an unexpected key change, cohesive enough that a play through from start to finish feels natural, but there isn’t anything incredibly adventurous that sets it apart from their previous releases. I See You is, nonetheless, beautifully composed and in high-definition. For full effect, definitely, plug in your headphones and get cozy because the xx will take you a mile down shore before you realize you’ve drifted.