2017, Music, Uncategorized

I See You (2017) by The xx

This album of downtempo, indie-esque romantic songs apparently belongs to multiple genres I have never heard of. I have heard of, and listened to a lot of genres, so that’s a weird experience for me. But the genres appear to be mostly British, so maybe that’s an explanation.

The sound features male-female vocals over electronic beats and loops and ethereal guitar. It’s fairly sedate but also has more energy than the word “sedate” might imply. It feels pretty romantic, so “sedate” really isn’t the right word. I’d call it “downtempo” but, of course, that’s a (British) genre of music that this definitely isn’t not. In some ways, I guess it’s sort of like a 21st century British hybrid of indie pop, electronic music and the aesthetic but not the pace of slowcore. Does that make sense? I’m not sure it does. One thing I will give them is that they sound relatively original to me, but I also feel like I must have heard music like this before.

The songs are fine. I feel like the melodies cold be stronger though maybe it’s the tempo at which they’re sung and played at that makes them a little less compelling than maybe they should be. (I am not someone who has an issue with slow music.)

It does feel like so much of the appeal revolves around the aesthetic. Some people are suckers for bands with both a man and a woman singing and I do think that’s part of the appeal for a lot of people here. And they do have a distinct sound, with guitar that’s not super prominent, often blending into a mix that conjures up memories of electronic music, even if two of the three members are playing traditional instruments.

For me, this kind of stuff succeeds either due to strong songs or strong performances and I’m not sure either are good enough for me here. The vibe is a little too mellow most of the time. Occasionally they hint that catharsis is coming and it doesn’t. In order for me to find something like this appealing – where I don’t think the songs are that great and I don’t feel like there’s enough dynamism to the performances – I would need to really like the arrangements or production or what have you, and their particular setup isn’t really my thing.

6/10

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