YOUNG TURKS RECORDINGS / SOUNDS GREAT
The start of a new year is usually pretty difficult for a music blogger as releases are sparse, but within the first two weeks of January 2017 we have already received music that could easily be album of the year contenders. Run the Jewels got things off to a great start, and now it seems The xx are looking to keep this wave of momentum going strong too. Their new album I See You sees a return to the band responsible for adding a little bit of alternative vibes into modern pop music, and fortunately it still showcases them at their best.
‘Dangerous’ kicks the record off with a big booming intro perfect for a reintroduction of a huge name like The xx. A thick, funky bassline chimes in alongside a typical Jamie xx set of percussion that would not look out of place on his solo effort ‘In Colour’. Effortless hooks are created due to the eerie quality of the male/female dynamic of the vocals, which is backed up by the fluid, crystal clear production, producing a very strong start to I See You.
The two singles ‘Say Something Loving’ and ‘On Hold’ are vintage The xx as they flood the airwaves with anthemic synthesisers, reverb-heavy guitars and an overarching sense of wonderment that creates a feel good vibe that’s infectiously superb. The latter’s mash up of vocals, drums and bass adds a touch of vibrancy to the mix, allowing the album’s closing half to stand up to it’s strong opening.
Another particular highlight of the record is ‘Performance’. This track aims straight for the heartstrings as smokey atmospheres are formed through the medium of sparkling synthesisers, the immediate rush of strings and the sombre-strummed sounds of the guitar. This moody instrumental is lead wonderfully by female vocals that project sadness and ambition to add another level of depth to this track’s output, and it’s beautiful.
I See You is a fantastic album from The xx. The band have returned with another set of tracks that appear shrouded in shadows but fight back with occasional spatters of colour, adding a hint of vibrancy to the listening experience. It’s a beautiful record that excels in anthemic tones, while also revelling in the odd cameo of funk, House-influenced sections too. Great stuff.