Aliya Naumoff/XL Recordings
The New Yorker said the album contains songs "to be sung inches from someone's ear." The Guardian praised its "understated charms." In a glowing review, Pitchfork called its songs "copiously tidy" (and vaguely suggested that listening to it might cause pregnancy).
The self-titled debut album from the London-based trio The XX seems to have been crafted to collide with eardrums at minimal impact. But in the eleven months since its release, the band's cooing minimalism won over enough fans to earn the most prestigious music prize in its homeland, the Mercury Prize for Album of the Year.
The young band (none of the musicians are older than 21) beat out shortlisted artists Biffy Clyro, Corinne Bailey Rae, Foals, Paul Weller, Wild Beasts, I Am Kloot, Dizzee Rascal, Kit Downes Trio, Mumford & Sons, Villagers and Laura Marling for the prize.
After the win, guitarist and singer Romy Madley Croft told reporters that the band was in "disbelief," but the win was just the latest in a long line of successes. Without a hit single or a dancefloor-ready sound, the XX has built its audience slowly but steadily. According to a publicist for the band, xx has sold nearly 200,000 copies.
Responding to the award, the Guardian's Alex Petridis wrote that it's worth remembering that the Mercury Prize is about selling records, and imagines that the award might actually boost the XX "into the mainstream."