Minimalist R&B-inspired music is riding a wave of popularity right now, but not all makers of breathy, sexytime music are created equal. The sensuality in the music of The xx — comprising Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim, and Jamie Smith — is one that The Weeknd and James Blake can't quite match. Sounding something like Sade, if her music favored guitar-driven electronica over jazz, the British trio pairs intimate, pillow-talk vocals with the minimalist stylings and sex appeal of Brian Eno and Chris Isaak, respectively. Where in Isaak's songs he longs to fall in love, The xx's Madley Croft and Sim seem to have been in and out of it plenty of times, somehow emerging neither jaded or deterred. Madley Croft sweetly sings about falling deep in "Angels," and she doesn't have any qualms about giving it up on the first date in "Stars." Though The xx's songs tend to drip with the kind of optimism that comes with a new relationship, there is plenty of heartbreak. "Heart Skipped a Beat" finds a jilted lover trying to get over an old flame once and for all. Madley Croft's gauzy vocals mesh beautifully with Sim's baritone and Smith's booming percussion to create simple yet elegant songs.
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