Jamie xx is a busy man. In-between masterminding the production for The xx, and putting his own little twists on songs by artists from the likes of Adele and Florence + The Machine to Radiohead, he’s been hard at work as a solo artist. Jamie xx released last year In Colour, his highly anticipated studio album. Along with that, the producer shared “Loud Places,” a collaboration with fellow bandmate and friend, Romy Madley Croft.
Compared to previous releases, “Sleep/Sound” or “All Under One Roof Raving,” “Loud Places” is more straightforward in terms of arrangement. Here, Jamie xx has shown that he doesn’t need to fill the soundscape with sophisticated electronics to make something special. The inclusion of such things can sometimes come across as overpowering and ruin the overall feel of a song. The soft persistent drums, the tinkling rhythmic intersections and that simple sample gel wonderfully to compliment the track’s elegant aesthetic.
Fans of The xx will be familiar with Romy’s voice, not to mention her distinct and utterly captivating vocal approach. It’s the way in which Romy has you hooked, listening to each and every line, word, syllable that makes this song that extra bit special. Normally, we’re used to hearing those shadowy intonations over a rather minimalist soundscape, so it’s even more refreshing to hear them weave through something that’s more fleshed out.
On paper, there’s no question why this pairing wouldn’t work. Some may argue that this may just sound like another xx song. What would set it apart from what we’ve heard before? It seems however, that these qualms were obsolete. Indeed, deep down, at its core, you can hear elements of The xx’s sound: but at the same time, you realize, of course it does. From the very beginning, Jamie xx has been able to differentiate between the varying sounds of The xx and his solo work. Whilst the band lean towards a deeper and quieter mood, Jamie tends to venture outwards, creating a more experimental and busier atmosphere.
On the whole, “Loud Places” delivers in all aspects. Romy’s voice and words make you feel, and listen whilst Jamie serves up yet another lush bed of sweeping sounds.