The four members of the xx dress in black, stand in a single-file line and perform expressionless in most of their YouTube videos.
Their look is consistent with the dark restraint of their post-punk sound. Their songs are more sparse than those of seminal post-punk bands like the Cure and Echo & the Bunnymen, but the music is every bit as emotional.
Maybe that's because the guitar work on tracks such as "Island" does more than brood - it meanders like instrumental voices engaged in a search. That fits the coming-of-age lyricism of the xx. "Islands" isn't a love song. It's an odyssey across the idea of being in love.
A smoky R&B element infuses much of this album. You can hear it in the bass lines of "Cystalised." The technique adds a loungy feel to a song that's already shaped by a surf-noir riff.
The xx are currently all the rage in the buzz-heavy indie-rock blogosphere. Their unique sound and style make it easy to see why.