October 24, 2009
The xx played the Apple Store Soho
CMJ is always a fun week in the city since there are countless shows to attend, however this year seemed to lack a many bands I wanted to see. The UK group The xx has been getting pretty solid reviews of their self-titled debut and while I enjoy the album it also seems to be lacking something. The sound never gets too big, the music is ultra simplistic, but the voices sounds really great. Putting a label on the sound is also rather difficult. They mix 80's post-punk, with R&B, and indie-pop. While the album sounds hollow, I figured I should not pass up a free show. The venue was pretty packed by the time the band took the stage a little after 7:00 and the band began to play pretty much straight through their album adding in a cover of "Teardrops" which is off their bonus disc. While the band did sound much fuller live, then on record, the show still lacked a certain element. The four members stood in a line behind two giant boxes with an "x" and lacked a real presence. The music is very low-key without watching the band, and the live performance did not do much to add to the experience. There were definitely some points where the crowd was feeling the energy and tried to dance and shuffle around and the dueling male/female vocals were still really intriguing and the band was loud. In all it was definitely a step up from a record that I already enjoy. However I think this is a record that will be most enjoyed super late at night. It's an after the party album best played when everyone has gone home and you and your friends are almost about to pass out. Throw on this record, sit back, reflect.