I don’t own The XX’s album. There, I said it and put you all in a stunned silence. Well don’t be so shocked. I bet there’s thousands of us out there. The fact is, when they picked up that Mercury Music Prize a few weeks back, my heart sank just a bit – it could only be a bit, because everyone knew that was going to be the result.
The XX aren’t anything new. Clad in black, some trendy haircuts and a boy-girl singing combo? Meh, it’s been done. The XX remind me of Echo and the Bunnymen and The Associates the most but to be honest there’s a whole host of new-wave bands and artists that could have spawned these lot. Heck, sometimes I even think about the darkest moments of The Cure when I see them. Now, that’s pretty odd: you wouldn’t naturally make that link but I do. Even if most of it is because of that trend-goth look that they have. But do you know what? Mostly The XX just make me think of Glasvegas:
Yeah that’s right, GLASVEGAS. Speaking of bands I don’t like… yes, Glasvegas. They got Mercury nominated too remember? Come on, look at that: if the XX’s fourth member hadn’t left the band they might have looked an awful lot more similar in design but hey that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I am now going to present evidence to show that the XX are more like Glasvegas than you think. Your honour, I present exhibit A:
Notice the guitar riffs and melody after the opening glockenspiel? Well members of the jury I would like you to try and remember that as I present you with Exhibit B, my decisive evidence that proves the connection between The XX and Glasvegas:
Gasp! That guitar! It’s a bit more muscular but yes, the guitar from “Geraldine” is exactly the same as the one from “VCR”. Shock! Awe! Horror! So there you have it. The XX, copying another band’s riff. This would be more acceptable except there’s only a single year between the two releases and there would have been no way for the XX to avoid listening to Glasvegas: they, particularly this song, were everywhere at some point in time. Who’s innovative now?
I suppose this is all a bit cruel but to be honest I’ve had it with The XX. They’re everywhere. On all the radio programmes, on every blog, every music website, every magazine… and now their music is being used to soundtrack numerous TV ads – mostly ones for TV shows. They’ve been on several BBC adverts, aired on the initial adverts for C4’s “Seven Days” and feature on digital channels too. Oh, and the Tories used them in their party political conference (although in their defence, the band didn’t give permission for them to do that!) Did that happen to Speech Debelle? No. I guess she was too sunny. Because The XX have been billed as moody they instantly get placed on anything remotely dark (and on the BBC, everything is very remotely dark since they think “low natural lighting = dark and adult.” They generally use a flashlight, but should take note that the offices of Stirling Cooper Draper Pryce in Mad Men are very sunny.)
And this is the point where I give up. I’m now going to roll on the floor and yell “MAKE IT STOP!” for a while until The XX disappear. But by that time they’ll have made another album. There’s no escape!