The xx - I See You
I See You
To say there were some high expectations on this the third album from The xx, I See You, would be an understatement. On their first album The xx found something, it was moody yet loving intense but you could sway to it sometimes. Then came Jamie xx's In Colour which is arguably the best electronic record in some time. It seemed like Jamie xx was set to be out on his own for sometime, leaving The xx behind, but what is really special about this band is just how much they care about each other. All the build up to this record and all the press was not the three angsty 20 somethings, but instead people who have found peace both in their own lives and in their music. Being happy can often make a band loose their edge, but not here not this band. Their sophomore release was in all honesty not that great, and taking a four year break between albums obviously made people wonder if they still had it in them. Well they most certainly do. I See You is their most varied album really taking the opportunity to make each track really unique, but again Jamie's DJ skills manage to pull it all together into one unified piece about love and longing. However Romy and Oliver have matured as songwriters here and the subjects become more rich and while their singing may not blow everyone way it perfectly conveys the exact emotion they are trying to obtain.
One of the interesting things in the lead up to the album were the singles choices. Heard on their own they seemed out of place, not The xx and potentially...bad. But once you hear them ("On Hold", "Say Something Loving") on the album, you get it, the decision makes sense because the tracks have a context. Romy and Oliver convey such an open vulnerable vibe that you feel almost a part of it. "A Violent Noise" builds the tension almost solely based on Jamie xx's production but the vocals add that haunting quality that pushes the track over the top. In fairness at just under 40 minutes the record feels very short, before you have a chance to open your eyes the record is gone and waiting four years maybe just a little more would have been appropriate. One of their signature guitar rifts comes on the most personal track "Performance", as Romy sings about trying to play the part for the rest of the world. There is something about The xx that just connects, they land on these ideas that make so much sense and are so very satisfying. "Test Me" closes the album and is one of Jamie xx's producing triumphs, a seemingly perfect way to round out an album four years in the making. It was worth the wait.
9.0 out of 10