Any fears that the xx might go the full David Guetta on the London electronic pop outfit’s upcoming sophomore album appear to be misplaced. In December, producer Jamie xx suggested the follow-up to the group’s Mercury Prize-winning, self-titled debut might take on more of a club feel. The xx unveiled new songs in a string of London live dates this week, and fan footage so far reveals music that is decidedly in the smoldering, understated vein of The xx.
One new song, its title as yet unknown, features the xx singer-guitarist Romy Madley Croft’s husky voice over precise, minimal guitar and percussion, with the refrain “Being as in love with you as I am.” Another, more propulsive number focuses on a whispery duet between Croft and singer-bassist Oliver Sim, with a steadily loping rhythm section beneath spidery, reverberant guitar lines and sweeps of synthesized strings. The theme of intimacy persists: “Why would you just leave us alone? / When we have been close, close, close,” the two sing in harmony that’s almost that close.
London promoters Eat Your Own Ears presented the xx’s three-show set of modest-sized London live performances this week. Fans could win tickets by entering a lottery. Monday night’s show was at Electrowerkz in Islington, Tuesday’s was at Chats Palace in Hackney’s, and Friday the xx will perform at Battersea Arts Centre in Battersea. Based on available set lists so far, the band has been playing a whole bunch more new material than we’ve seen online just yet, so Londoners, please keep the audience video clips coming.
The first two clips below are of the same song (the “being as in love with you as I am” song) as recorded on Monday and Tuesday nights; the third clip is the other new song we described (the “close, close, close” one) as recorded Tuesday. It all sounds awfully promising.