The XX tonight at Uptown Ampitheatre (6/15/13)



In 1975, art-rock godhead Brain Eno published Oblique Strategies, a pack of oracle cards whose gnomic aphorisms encouraged lateral thinking to solve creative roadblocks. I've no idea if The XX have ever employed Eno's cryptic deck, but they don't need to because they've intuitively employed their own oblique strategies throughout their career. Much is made of The XX's seductive melding of spectral art rock and smooth R&B. Yet, the trio draws from the suggestive end of the post-punk spectrum. Like Young Marble Giants, The XX's spare but emotionally rich vocal lines emerge gradually. Like the Durruti Column, their melodies quietly coalesce around carefully plucked guitars. R&B influences are similarly sideways, drawing from the abstract spirit of the genre, as opposed to boosting beats from Timbaland. Guitarist Romy Madley Croft and bassist Oliver Sim aren't really a couple, but they sing one on CD. Croft's whispery sigh intertwines with Sim's dry and sand-papery tone around suggestive, cut and paste lyrics that seem to be about sex. Multi-instrumentalist/third wheel Jamie XX supplies the spare but velvety settings for the mysterious duets that follow dream logic straight to our subconscious. $35-$60. June 15, 7:30 p.m. Uptown Amphitheatre, 1000 N.C. Music Factory Blvd. 704-916-8970.

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