Well folks, it's out, and it seems like The XX are finally out of their shell.
The London natives which have been in the spotlight as shy introverts since Coexist came out in 2009, seem to have finally taken the helm of their star power, and confidently return with I See You, their third album. After what has been a 5 year wait for all of us fans (and honestly, probably felt like a decade), it's so wonderful to see that they're back, complete with a soundtrack to your next love story; from initial puppy-eyed first date to the ultimate tumultuous break up, that leaves you absolutely shattered.
We all know it, The XX have always been the hopeless romantics. As Romy sings on I Dare You, "I've been a romantic for so long, all I've ever had are love songs." This album makes you FEEL. And it makes you feel something intense. Be it lustful romance, a hurt longing, it plays with your emotions and takes you on a whirlwind of a ride. A Violent Noise is your harsh make-out track, while Replica is great for unwinding and brooding, alternatively a great late-night driving song. It totally plays off of Jamie Smith's more tropical influences from his solo work.
Speaking of Jamie Smith (Jamie XX), after the success of his solo dance-influenced LP In Colour, you can tell that they experiment with some more upbeat tracks. Dangerous sounds like it could have belonged on In Colour, and the catchy Hall & Oats-sampled On Hold are definitely different than what we've previously heard. But you know what? It works.
The biggest difference you'll notice on this album is yeah, of course, they're still brooding, but half the time they sound happy. Along with that happiness is the ballsy sort of assurance they have with boldly expanding outward from their minimalist sound that they're famous for. As a third album, it's their most pop-y one yet, but still maintains the signature traits that will definitely give their old fans that XX fix that they've waited so long for.
Yesterday also marks the day I finally bought tickets to hear the trio live for the first time this coming April. I am beyond ridiculously excited. Especially with an album that packs so much intensity, and one that's even filled with danceable tracks like On Hold (which has a massive big-stadium feel), I See You was made to be heard live.
It's nice to see The XX opening themselves up to new styles, all the while still maintaining the melancholy but absolutely stunning dream pop that we've all come to associate them with. They have managed to give us a more uptempo environment, without losing a single piece of emotion and passion that they want us to re-live with them. It's brilliant to see The XX are back, and finally bursting with confidence.