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Review: New album "I See You" expands the sound of The xx

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I See You, by The xx, is out now. It's the group's third major studio album.

The world feels lonely at times. When it does, we all have to search desperately for some sort of connection. This is an idea shared by many, including the members of acclaimed indie rock band The xx, who released its third studio album, I See You, Friday.

This marks the band’s first album since 2012’s Coexist, and the sound of the new record shows how the band has grown in musical style over the past five years. The xx now seems more mature, more sure of themselves and more ready to secure their place in the musical world, all while retaining the style that made the band successful in the first place.

The xx made a name for itself through its slow, melodic use of alternative and indie rock elements, creating a sound that feels familiar but incredibly unique at the same time, all while displaying messages about hope and vulnerability. 

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The combined vocal styles of singers Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim have created the unique sound of the band, which only gets expanded upon in this new album.

“Dangerous,” the first song, begins the album on the right note with a blues feeling that even includes a horn section, all while still making sure fans know they are about to listen to an xx album.

Other songs featured include “Performance," where Madley Croft sings about keeping up appearances in the world we live in, and “Brave For You,” which acts as something of a tribute to her deceased parents. With each note the band plays, the vulnerability of their members shines through, allowing fans to connect with their music on multiple levels.

The singles on this record include “Say Something Loving, ” which once again sees the vocal styles of the two singers blending beautifully, and “On Hold,” which is the most popular song on the album thus far and also one of the most unique. 

With a strange and wonderful blend of the band’s traditional stylings combined with electronic elements not always seen in its music, this becomes one of the album’s most memorable tracks.  As Sim sings, “when and where did we go cold, I thought I had you on hold" the band’s ultimate ability to capture an audience through emotional vulnerability shines through once again.

“I Dare You," comes across as one of the strongest songs on the record, a thoughtful track with an incredibly catchy riff and chorus that will stay in the minds of fans long after the album’s last track concludes.

That last track comes in the form of “Test Me," a strange, yet somber track that serves as a fitting conclusion to the record.

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All in all, this album certainly represents a step in the right direction for the band, allowing it to stay in touch with its roots while also taking its music in exciting new directions to build upon with future records. Fans of the band’s prior work should find themselves satisfied, and newcomers will likely find something to enjoy as well.

Music should take us on a journey and allow us to connect. The xx’s I See You certainly achieves this goal.

Grade: A-


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