British electro alt-pop act the xx returns with their long-awaited third album, I See You (Young Turks).
The follow up to 2012’s Coexist, which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, I See You showcases a newly-evolved, confident, and considerably less-gloomy xx.
It’s a piece of drama and optimism, textured with beats and horns, floaty guitars and haunting vocals. Though its heart remains that darker-shade of post-midnight melancholia which earned the trio a global cult following and a prestigious Mercury Music Prize (for their 2009 debut xx, which reached No. 92 on the Billboard 200).
And while xx and Coexist were made in relative seclusion in their London studio (and sold more than 3 million copies between them), the trio of Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith (aka Jamie xx, who produced the LP with Rodaidh McDonald) embraced a new creative approach for I See You. The new album was cut in different studios in New York, Reykjavik, Los Angeles, London and Marfa between March 2014 and August 2016.
Its debut single “On Hold” samples Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That” and dropped last November. Its accompanying video was shot by Alasdair McLellan in Marfa, a west Texas desert town which “gave us the space to be creative and explore as a unit,” Croft told Billboard, “and that brought us closer together.”
To celebrate the release, the xx will appear on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon next Tuesday (Jan. 17). The Stateside leg of the I See You shows begin April 14 at Coachella Music Festival. European dates start Feb. 8 at Hovet in Stockholm, Sweden.
Stream I See You below.