The 13th of January saw The XX return with the release of their vibrant new album “I See You”.
After a practical five year hiatus The XX have ventured into new artistic horizons on their follow up to the melodic, atmospheric, yet anticlimactic sophomore effort “Coexist”. Unlike with “Coexist” it is clear that the group have been relieved of the pressure to live up to their iconic debut album, instead The XX take a more brave and artistic approach to the composition within “I See You”. Rather than playing things safe, as they had done previously, the group produces arguably their most musically engaging album by experimenting with a variety of new sounds, interesting samples, and more infectious beats. It is apparent that The XX may have finally accepted that they are no longer the minimalist indie band they started out as and have embraced their huge popularity. Gone are the days of low-key and intimate shows and in their place come headline slots at festivals and stadium filling performances, the songs within “I See You” were clearly written with this fact in mind.
The album acts as a collection of more epic and energetic tracks, elevating them further than their minimalist roots and creating a more exciting and diverse album than their previous two efforts. This can partly be credited to the more mature and daring production of Jamie XX and the natural transition of his influence upon the album following his seminal debut “In Colour”. “I See You” showcases the maturation of The XX as a band in almost every aspect, whether it is the exciting new instrumentation and recurring use of strings, the more intricate and compelling rhythms or even the development of their lyrical content which has evolved beyond themes of melancholy, lust, and yearning.
All in all “I See You” is a promising and welcome return for The XX, it is an album of advancement yet remains true to the band’s distinctive style. The XX have once again created an album in which substance and style complement each other, one which evokes the best elements of their previous work and provides a catalogue of new and exciting material for their future as a group.
By Seb Whyte