Line 3

The xx
I See You


Released in 2017
Reviewed January 17 2017

I See You

If the notion of an expanded, meatier sound makes you fear a crude Coldplay-ification of The xx, fear not. In 'I Dare You', Romy Madley Croft sings: «A rush of blood / is not enough / I need my feelings set on fire».

Joke aside, there's reason to wonder what a minimalist band sounds like when not being minimalist anymore. Jamie xx is now everyone's favourite DJ/producer, and this album makes no secret of it. Luckily, the key to the question of minimalism is also the key to the album's quality: It's miles apart from their 2009 debut, yet unmistakably by the same band. It's the sound of progress. It's the album that 2012's Coexist should have been.

Listening back to the debut now is of course a reminder of its genius. It also sounds like a demo compared to today's effort. But most surprisingly, it's a guitar album. More shy indie than club. The xx are no clubbers today either, but they've been visiting. The devil in the details used to hide between two guitar notes. Now he appears at the twiddle of a knob.

It's still sparse and achingly beautiful. Like it's cover, certainly shinier. The sound of a band confident of what they do and yearning for the next level.

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