I have no one to blame but myself for never really giving The XX a fair shake. Had I checked them out under normal circumstances I might have liked them, but it just so happened that the first time I heard their debut album was while I was on a road trip with a really hot hipster zookeeper. We were trying to get the party started, and the intro track really delivered in that regard but sadly after that the album was just too slow and dark for the mood we were looking for. Well in hopes of getting laid that night, I instantly took the cd out and blew the band off; especially after I had later heard that their live shows weren’t all that great to begin with. Keep in mind however, that that was reaction to their performances during festivals and those who know The XX knows that their music isn’t really made for the daytime outside show. This is more of the night time club music with strobe lights and possible gender bending.
And I think that this is why bands release Ep’s in the first place; so they can both introduce potential fans to their sound in a rather quick fashion and at the same time experiment with some songs that they wouldn’t normally be able to release. The first track on this EP is Fiction, and it is exactly what you’d expect to hear from this indie pop sensation. It has their signature keyboards and light and complimentary guitar mixed in with the dark and low vocals of Oliver Sim. Once you combine that with his lyrics of “I wake up alone, with only daylight between us, last night the world was beneath us, tonight comes too long” you get a sound that’s next of Interpol’s Paul Banks and the INXS’s Need You Tonight without the charisma.
Next up was Together, the song they wrote for The Great Gatsby. It ends up being a perfect fit for that movie with it’s almost hip hop beat and dramatic violins that come in at the end. However, all throughout this song I just imagined Baz Lurhmann (director) unnecessarily throwing in flying satin sheets and a sky that’s raining pearls just so he can put in his grandiose two cents . But the good news is, that without a tattooed goddess sitting next to me to distract me, I was actually enjoying the album so far. Wait, is that really good news???
Now comes the first of the three Fiction remixes. This reminds me of when Filter had 7 remixes of Take My Picture; do you really that many? This version is a club remix for sure, especially since they just repeat “When we’re not together” over and over again. You can’t help but be reminded of Armand Van Heldon’s Funk Phenomena, which if you were alive when it came out, you most certainly spun a glow stick or two while dancing to it. The funky addition of the guitar might be my favorite part although it only appears briefly in the song.
The second remix is the Mary Jane Coles Version and it also continues to remind you of late 90’s dance music. This one brings back all of the lyrics of the original and musically it feels like something you’d hear in an upscale lounge in Europe or swanky Manhattan. Like my man Bill Cosby said in season 6 of the Cosby Show “This is the best elevator music I’ve ever heard”. I swear I’m related to this man some way somehow!
Finally comes the third and final remix of Fiction and this one belongs to Marcus Wogull. This one has more of a driving beat with the sound of a high hat that’s used for timing. Midway through the song they lose the Russian techno keys for a second and bring in the guitar but then they immediately get bored with that and resort to the unimaginative sound they initially introduced to the track. This is my least favorite of the three but that’s mainly because it’s so repetitive.
Overall I like this EP and suggest you at least give it a listen on Spoitfy.