The XX are a band who have achieved the rare accolade of matching their critical success with a commercial viability after the minimalist electronic strains of 2010’s self-titled record altered the face of popular music forever. Without the prevalence of The XX’s sultry and deeply affecting electro, artists so clearly influenced by their sound would have turned out hugely different than they did today. The likes of James Blake and London Grammar, for instance, would certainly be viewed with wholly different eyes has The XX not impacted so extensively.
Fans can expect a change in direction and mood on the new XX record.
For their upcoming third release, tentatively entitled LP3, the group have decamped from their native London confines to the climes of some fairly unorthodox locations. In-house producer for XL Records Rodaidh McDonald, who previously worked with the band on second album Coexist, has revealed the band has worked on the new record in Texas and there are trips planned to Iceland and France during the coming summer. As the band absorb the sounds of different continents, McDonald has indicated such international influence will greatly affect the direction of the new record. “There are songs which came out of our experiences in New York and Texas that would never have come out in London” he stated, “the colours and the ideas and the moods on some of these songs are just not things you could write in London.”
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The esoteric London group, completed by Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith, emerged from the same London school that spawned fellow electronic music innovators Hot Chip, Burial and Four Tet. Their eponymous debut and sophomore release Coexist achieved massive success, have won and nominated countless awards including Brits and a Mercury and continue to draw massive crowds across the world. Jamie Smith, known under his producer moniker Jamie XX, has also achieved solo success as a remix artist who has worked with the late Gil Scott-Heron and Drake. As such, the group have come together after excursions in disparate styles and genres and by all means it seems fans will be in for a departure from the low-key sound which engrossed such a wide contingent of music fans several years ago.
During Jamie XX’s recent residency on BBC Radio 6 he also played a track by country musician Mickey Newbury, whose estate The XX had resided in whilst working on new music. The band have remained quiet for the past year, with the group digressing they had skeletal songs arranged over a year ago. But now the wheels are firmly in motion, fans await the new material with eager ears. It will certainly differ from what we perceive The XX to be, the sound will be fuller and more expansive and almost certainly a work of immense genius.