The xx – Hot Like Fire
The xx are, in the purest sense, a modern band: their music could not exist without the machines that make the noises and the machines that record them.
I can’t think of a working band that is as genuinely minimalist.
These are songs to be sung inches from someone’s ear, preferably with the lights off.
Play the album a few times and all of a sudden other pop music sounds abrasive and overstuffed and shouty. The lyrics are where the age of the band shows. Madley Croft and Sim exchange lyrics on iChat, and never discuss what they mean. The two share the vocal duties on most songs, though the effect is rarely that of a duet. They’re singing at the same time, but in parallel, not necessarily to each other. (They met when they were three, after all.) It’s as if they’re looking through the same window at different people.
And I don’t need these young musicians to have figured anything out. How much do teen-agers know about love? Not much. Desire? A lot. Anxiety, anticipation, regret, frustration, delight, fear? More than most of us, maybe.