With such a phenomenal debut album under a bands wing it can be a struggle to figure out a way to achieve more and to do better. Yet, with their third full-length album, I See You, London’s trio The xx have managed to kick off 2017 with more vibrancy, heart and poetic fusions, whilst maintaining an undoubtedly individual presence in the music industry. This vibrancy is explicitly clear from the opening song ‘Dangerous’ easily imaginable during a rave and yet seemingly reminiscent of something early Disclosure would have released.
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There is an extraordinarily harmonious relationship between the two sets of vocals that cannot be ignored within I See You, ‘Performance’ stands as a song most impactful on the album, steering away from getting too far away from their comfort zone and instead incorporating what they’re good at with elements The xx have now adapted.
It is clear that lyrically The xx have never been shy of being raw, the preceding albums stand as proof of this, however it is with I See You that they seem more honest and fully welded within the work, it’s less about each member and each sound doing as best as they can individually, it has now evolved into making everything work as one unit in order to create a single narrative. And that’s exactly what I See You feels like, a narrative wherein each song, not solely lyrically, but musically and through feeling, creates a bigger, more masterful and engaging journey towards an end goal.
Despite their clear evolution as a unity it seems as if it isn’t too far away from what they had previously achieved, there hasn’t really been an extensive alteration in sound but perhaps it is this naturalness to their progression with additional musical components like the production in ‘Say Something Loving’ that makes I See You such a wholesome listening experience, even with typical themes full of love and angst it is clear that they have progressed and certainly through their production.
The album’s end goal is met with ‘Test Me’ which feels like 4am, it’s atmospheric with a light dizziness to it that leaves you questioning all you’ve heard before and all that’s going through your head. The simplicity of this final song, lyrically, musically and rhythmically, allows for an absorption of all the previous songs, bringing the sound of the album together allowing it to make sense as an entire journey through time. Creating this feeling isn’t easy, particularly when your sound is already so influential to fans and through the works of other artists, nevertheless The xx’s progression to I See You prove that it is possible.
They have managed to present I See You as a fusing of all the elements they previously had working in their interior that were quietly hidden away and all of the elements that they hadn’t before even thought of incorporating. There’s no doubts that it was a successful fusion allowing growth and musical adaptation. It is so easy to imagine accompanying visuals and that is what is so special about this album, it evokes all of the senses to create, it allows for varying experiences of the one album, this isn’t something that can be said of many pieces of art of any medium. For this reason, I See You is certainly an album that will translate phenomenally to a large venue. The accompaniment of visuals will undoubtedly push The xx into taking over many more formats and much like the preceding albums I See You will stay a topic of conversation for a long time.