I have read many articles stating The xx as being an influential and important group for their genre, but I have personally never understood the hype. I've always found their music to be too bland and subdued, even for "vibing" purposes.
I remember listening to "Coexist" a couple of years back and just being utterly bored with it. It was just a big nothing for me, and I have no desire to return to it.
But, as I am very forgiving, I am always willing to give artists' second and third (and even more) chances, so here I am.
At the very least, I can say that this is more interesting than I ever remember them being.
Firstly, I'd say that lyrically, this album is generally pretty good, and I'd refer you to "Brave For You" as an example of that.
Secondly, I really respect Jamie xx as a producer. He has produced some really good material, not just for his own solo material ("In Colour"), but also for other artists as well (Drake's "Take Care" comes to mind).
Thirdly, Romy and Oliver's vocals are really nice across this album. Oliver sounds particularly gorgeous on "On Hold".
But that is where the positives end for me.
Although the lyrics are mostly good, there is also this weird sexual subtext to some of the songs, which makes the album odd and unsettling at moments, and not in the way I think they were hoping it would be. "Lips", which had a decent instrumental going on, was completely ruined by its lyrics unfortunately.
And even though Jamie xx is a very solid producer, besides their vocals, I don't see what the other two bring to the table. I'm sure it isn't just a coincidence that when Jamie collaborates with these other two, he just makes his least interesting music, whereas he flourishes when working on his solo projects. They are dragging him down, is what I'm saying.
And despite my praise of the lyrics for "Brave For You", it really means nothing because the tune is barely there. And that really is the problem across the entire album. It is still generally on the boring side, which is a problem I think I will always have with them.
If you want this album in a nutshell, just listen to "Test Me", which is a very uninteresting finisher.
FAV TRACKS: A VIOLENT NOISE, ON HOLD
LEAST FAV TRACK: LIPS