The xx: 'Crystalised'

They may only have a couple of official songs and a handful of demos to their name now, but The xx is a band to watch. Both casually cool and absolutely magnetic, this young London four-piece makes music that's simple and raw, but utterly captivating.

The xx 300 i i

The xx Courtesy of Artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Artist
The xx 300

The xx

Courtesy of Artist

Romy and Oliver, the two lead vocalists of the group, have known each other since they were three years old and seem to exude a kind of natural chemistry when they sing together. According to Oliver, however, this shared history initially made it harder for the two to sing in front of each other. Because neither of them wanted to be the first to pipe up, Oliver says they "decided to sing at the same time and it just seemed to work nicely." Besides singing together, the two often collaborate on writing the lyrics. "I feel we bounce off each other quite well," says Oliver who appreciates Romy's more cryptic writing style.

The dual vocals on "Crystalised," the group's first single, are delivered in a sexy call and response fashion that is reminiscent of the duets in Set Yourself on Fire-era Stars, minus all the antagonism associated with ex-lovers. "Hot Like Fire" the second track from their limited edition 7", is more restrained, but equally enthralling. With little percussion, distortion, or background noise, the subtle bass lines and guitar riffs slowly build in volume as if self-conscious to be so nakedly displayed. The vocals are delivered in hushed tones to match the vibe established by the minimalist instrumentation. Their songs are almost all build-up and no resolution, which is somehow appropriate for a young band of 19 year-olds who are just gaining momentum in their musical careers. The xx is scheduled to make a tour stateside in June and release its debut LP in July.

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