In reality, The xx have never been quite as depressing as some have made them out to be, with this view largely the result of their difficult relationship with fame. Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith were reluctant to embrace centre stage in the early days, but as the years have passed they have gradually become more comfortable in their own skin and this newfound confidence is there for all to see on their third LP.
Unsurprisingly, there is a clear influence from Smith’s 2015 solo project In Colour (released under his performance name of Jamie xx), but I See You also sees his bandmates up their game significantly. From the very first euphoric burst of synthetic horns on opener Dangerous, it is almost impossible to miss the added conviction that embodies the record throughout its compact 40-minute runtime. The xx have taken in all the experiences and lessons they have learned since their breakthrough and come up with their most adventurous and quietly uplifting release to date. It’s so good, it may even banish those January blues.
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