If you believe everything you read, The XX may just be the 'Best New Band of 2009'; but hyperbole aside, the young London quartet have certainly opened their account in imposing fashion. 'XX' is an exercise in the 'less is more' approach, yet is rampant with minimalist beats, the occasional pinging guitar riff and weighty basslines that create a warm duvet of sound. Vocal duties are shared between Romy Madley-Croft's breathy, slurred warble and Oliver Sim's moody croon, his shades of Stuart Staples adding extra character to what is probably the most atmospheric album you'll hear all year.
Inversely, there's not a whole lot going on musically. The modus operandi of the four 20-year-olds seems to be to entrance the listener with repetition, although they do excel at hiding melodies, simplistic grooves and hypnotic beats just under the surface of their songs. 'VCR' is particularly mesmerising and terribly '80s in production and delivery, making it easy to see why this band have generated comparisons with Young Marble Giants, while 'Heart Skipped a Beat', 'Basic Space' and 'Night Time' are all effortlessly cool offerings.
The only disadvantage with creating an album that simmers and bubbles without ever exploding, is that it becomes slightly bogged down in its wilful opaqueness at times. This is undoubtedly an impressive debut, but perhaps even more exciting is the thought of what The XX might do next.