Returning after a while away The XX are back with a new ten track album. ‘I See You’ opens with the brass-and-drum-machine hefty ‘Dangerous’ which merges two competing vocal styles with a crisp production of synthesized instrumentation in a perky, siren-wailing opener of intention. This optimistic combination of vocals continues with ‘Say Something Loving’, layering over vocals and harmonies into an ear-pleasing orchestra of sounds. ‘Lips’ continues the similar themes, focussing on the layered production into a neat musical exploration. The flow of gentle, atmospheric numbers continues through ‘A Violent Noise’, ‘Performance’ and ‘Replica’, mixing up great harmonies and gentle rhythms into a calming, chilled-out style. ‘Brave For You’ continues the style well before ‘On Hold’ cements itself as the best song on the album with its catchy hooks, Moby-like central chorus and the energy to do something different to what has come before it, as well as some surprisingly touching lyrics.
‘I Dare You’ which follows, is arguably the next best track on the album, the harmonies and music style working well together. The album then wraps up with ‘Test Me’, a sonic musical journey that is a solid conclusion but lacking any huge impact in its instrumentalisation. Overall ‘I See You’ is a strong album of enjoyable harmonies and styles but you need to wait until the last few tracks to really get the best of the material, but it’s a pleasing and encouraging release of pop songs with more bite. (6.5/10)