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Boy/Girl newcomers cross Mazzy Star with Sleater Kinney.

Rating: 8 / 10

Edwin McFee, 31 Jul 2009

Take four youthful school-friends with a penchant for gloomy, gothy sounds, give them enough money to make a record, leave to cool for, oh, about three months and voila, they create musical gold. It may be a tried and tested formula, but it works well if The XX’s debut album is anything to go by. The quartet’s music is a mix of Mazzy Star and Sleater Kinney (not too fast, not too slow) and boy/girl vocalists Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim expertly layer their voices together, creating sleepy yet salacious songs that are far too awkward to ever be written off as mere “easy listening.”

As well as having obvious Cocteau Twins influences, there are also traces of dub step and R‘n’B ingrained in their album too (think the delicate nuances of Aaliyah rather than the muscle-bound frat-boy-isms of Flo-Rida). Opening track ‘VCR’ is the best example of this, with our heroes incorporating odd images to their finely crafted choruses. Highlight has to be the fantastic ‘Heart Skipped A Beat’ which is almost like a twisted, 00’s take on old 50’s love songs leaving us to conclude that if the meek really will inherit the earth, The XX will be the rulers of all they survey in no time.

KEY TRACK: ‘Heart Skipped A Beat’

Rating: 8 / 10
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