Thursday, 3 January 2013

The xx - Sunset (Jamie xx Edit)

The xx’s Coexist was a funny thing, what with its moments of gorgeous clarity being fogged by a miasma of tedium and its apparent reluctance to fully engage with the stylistic shifts it looked certain to make. The tragedy of the band threatening to release an album that merged a club sensibility with the minimalist intimacy of their debut and the resulting record being a collage of beige hasn't really worn off (and neither has the irony of its best track being the least danceable song they've ever produced). But out of this genteel car crash has emerged something quite brilliant.

Though not a huge departure from the original in terms of melody and structure, by putting the emphasis more firmly on the deep drum pattern (and by giving it a stronger 2-step feel) the whole thing becomes at once more beautiful and miserable. The vocals no longer take centre stage, but they feel like a more cohesive aspect than they did in the original, which relegated them to being a dampener for whenever the beat’s warmth threatened to push through and spoil all the fun Romy and Oliver clearly weren't having. If nothing else it’s a pertinent reminder that Jamie xx, for all the talk of his significance to the group, operates far better when he’s off in his own little world.

Ned Powley

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