The xx: XX


I will admit to being a cheap ass when it comes to buying music. I’m not loyal to my online retailers now that I’m no longer scouring the used bins for CDs at Moby Disc or getting those Super Saver stickers on my cassettes. So along came this album for $1.99 on Amazon and, like a dog to a bone, I had to buy it after reading so many glowing reviews. Granted, it didn’t sound totally up my alley, and thus the willingness to purchase it only after it had been marked 80% off. This one is certainly a grower–with multiple listens never wearing on my eardrums or boring me despite the relative mellowness and flat bass, voice, drum machine approach. Something about it reminds me of that one Cowboy Junkies album that half the world and I owned back in ’88. It could be the slightly lazy singing style of the female lead, but the sparse, modern production also has the more familiar feel of bands like The Blow and Dirty Projectors. Though this stuff is way less jarring and grating and certainly has a darker edge. There are some quirky moments that I really do enjoy here, but there are also moments where the sparse nothingness feels more like they don’t really understand musicianship than intentional spots of open space. This is a late night album to be sure. Maybe this generation’s “in the Air Tonight” (minus the drum solo, of course).