The British teenagers in The XX profess a love for all things R&B. Their soul is noticeable mostly in Romy Croft’s woozy vocal, but the rest you have to infer from the buried nods. Many of their songs seem to hint at a past life that exists only as sketches, like the remains of something once booming, or the storyboard outlines of pop songs never finished. That stunted growth ends up sultry and crackling on much of their upcoming debut album on Young Turks, XX, male/female vocals overlay a guitar worming its way through a grim workout or the harsh and lone repetition of a drum machine. “Basic Space,” is among XX‘s sassier tracks, blunt dance track drums propelling the tempo before they drop out almost completely to a serenading guitar. The XX are not using simple instruments or patterns unknowingly, instead letting the uncomplicated rhythm of each piece propel. But it’s not that deep: The XX have said some of the sparse sound is a result of recording into Photobooth on their Macs. But some of it’s also because of a more lax attitude to writing and recording, not uncomplicated but very far from messy.
Download: The xx, “Basic Space”