The XX - xx
Space. Everyone needs it to stay sane. In London, though, it’s hard to find. Coffin-narrow streets are piled with tiny flats, subdivided into even tinier rooms, cramped and claustrophobic. No act of chance, perhaps, that it’s in the capital that the most original music of recent years, dubstep, with its booming, echoing spaces, first developed.
The XX, four kids from the dubstep heartland of south London, have quietly set up an emotional squat in those spaces, with bedsit-delicate love songs. It’s strange that such a traditional
set-up (drums, bass, keys, guitars, voices) has resulted in one of 2009’s most unique debuts. The praise can be laid at the door of the band themselves: synths-and-beats man Jamie Smith produced the album himself and they draw together eclectic materials from avant-garde hip-hop to R&B to pure pop.