Monday, August 9, 2010

Lolla review: the XX

I first saw the xx on my beloved Jools Holland, and Mr. IMo? in particular liked them a lot. When we saw them come up on Lolla's schedule we figured we would check them out. They had an emotional, minimalist shoe-gazer quality that was interesting because it is so uncommon at the moment.

Coming in the side entrance we came upon the xx and they were blocking traffic. Their fans had overflowed beyond the allotted section and were clogging the pathway. I had heard that they have been a fast rising band but I wasn't prepared for this response.

What I noticed first was that an outdoor mid-day venue was all wrong for them. The xx is more of a hang out in the dark and brood sort of band than a dance around and go crazy in broad daylight as you sweat profusely kind of band. I was doing some interviewing to go with my new slot as a writer for Paper Dragon Ink, and met up with a girl named Brittany. She was an all-American looking blonde from Chapel Hill, North Carolina and had already seen them twice before. She said was of the opinion that the outdoor show was all wrong for them, calling them "lights out music" and she though that although they looked more confident in their performance this time, the feel was all wrong.

Brittany made me wonder why a peppy preppy girl would be so drawn to such a dark and brooding band like the XX. The best answer Mr. IMo? and I could come up with is that they are the closest thing to the Cure to come out in about 15 years and so this generation is finding their own version of gothic-emo bands.

I promised MR. IMo? I would be kind to them in my review, so here is my summation. They are not something new, they are a blurry muffled version of better bands like the Cure or Cocteau Twins, and unless they really step it up this bolt into fame will burn out quickly.

I don't see them as being unique or technically adept enough to last. At this point they aren't quite yet garage band quality, more at a testing out ideas in your bedroom level of playing. But there is something undeniably appealing in Romy Madley Croft's voice that people connect with, and the band seems to be there more as a foil for her ruminations than anything else.
I have never been one who can predict what will be popular with the masses, so who knows, they may prove me wrong.

Best song of the show: "Crystalised"

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