The xx are four 20-year-olds from South London who make predominantly slow, furtive pop music, mostly about sex. They are also one of the stranger recipients of UK hype in recent memory. They have no calling-card song; members of the Pitchfork staff have ID'd no fewer than four songs ("Basic Space", "Crystalised", "Islands", "Infinity") as "the one." They are not fashion plates, nor likely to be. Their list of influences is potent but imperfect: Young Marble Giants (too shaggy and heavy-lidded); Japan (too robust and theatric); Glass Candy (too quick and glammy). Without one gimmick song they'll never be able to reproduce, without an alternate agenda, without a set-in-stone hip influence, the xx start to sound like a real actual band, even if, after dozens of listens, it's nearly incomprehensible to think that a group so fresh-faced produced xx.
Strongly influenced by modern R&B-- the group made hay with an early cover of Womack & Womack's "Teardrops", while UK copies of xx come packed with their version of Aaliyah's "Hot Like Fire"-- the xx use a drum machine to complement their copiously tidy compositions. Unlike contemporary R&B fetishists Hot Chip or Discovery, who have clearly spent long hours internalizing Timbaland, the Neptunes, and other radio cognoscenti, the xx incorporate more abstract elements of the genre: a liberal use of bass tones and an unwavering focus on sex and interpersonal relationships.
Received a 8.7 rating from Pitchfork for best new music.