2017’s I See You is set to be somewhat of a departure from the xx that we’ve gotten to know over the years. That assessment is one that’s supported by latest release Say Something Loving, which falls in line with previous single On Hold by letting the ethereal guitars and brooding hooks take a back seat for what are seemingly more pop-based sympathies. Say Something Loving is, fittingly for the start of 2017, a track that ushers in change – or at least cements a change that’s already in progress – with echoing, energetic percussion and a smooth bass line more evocative of an ’80s throwback than 2013’s Coexist. It’s still undeniably xx, with Romy Croft and Oliver Sim’s vocals pioneering the band’s jump into more unfamiliar territory as they did in November’s On Hold, and the dream-like, stargazing quality found so often in the Londoners’ work is still present, if bolstered by a more insistent and pop-like sound.
It remains to be seen whether the decision to take things in this new direction will prove a fruitful one for The xx. For now, though, as we look on into a new year, it’s certainly exciting to be along for the ride with them.