London based trio The xx, released their debut record xx August 2009 in the UK, marking this month as its fifth anniversary. Five years ago to this date, the album entered the charts with a debut position of 36.
Merging R&B and electro, giving each track a multi-textured production, The xx’s self-titled, self-produced first album received acclaim from music critics despite its somewhat poor debut commercial performance. However, having been awarded the Mercury Prize in 2010, the album climbed to third place in the UK album chart.
The album was produced by musical producer and remix artist Jamie Smith (known by the stage name Jamie xx) who makes up a third of the band. It spawned four singles: ‘Crystallised’, ‘Basic Space’, ‘Islands’ and ‘VCR’. Their first single, ‘Crystallised’ has been used in various advertisements, including a 2010 advert for Grey’s Anatomy which featured a cover by Gorillaz.
Their distinct sound can be also be found elsewhere. ‘Intro’, the opening track which is predominantly instrumental, was sampled by Rihanna for ‘Drunk on Love’ from her 2011 album Talk That Talk and was also used for NBC’s coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Three years after their breakthrough record, The xx released Coexist. Like its predecessor, the sound is minimal, layered and harmonious as Oliver Sim and Romy Madley-Croft’s vocals work in sync (as presented in second Coexist single ‘Chained‘).
Revisit the album’s highest chart peaking single, ‘Islands’, below.