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Page last updated at 10:54 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 11:54 UK
Introducing…The xx

By Greg Cochrane
Newsbeat music reporter

They wouldn't say boo to a goose, but the timidity all adds to London schoolmates' melancholic pop allure.

The XX
The XX first met at nursery school in London

It's tough to think of anything more tender than porcelain indie-ists The xx.

A child's handshake? A kiss from a cloud? A hug from Graham Coxon? In person, the four Londoners are amongst the shiest, politest people you're likely to meet.

Accordingly, the music they make is unsurprisingly meek. A fridge chilled mix of the The Kills, Velvet Underground and Sleater-Kinney.

Thankfully, given they're not keen talkers, they've let their music do the yelling for them since their inception in 2005.

First meeting

Singer Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim [bass] first met at nursery school. Later to be joined by Baria Qureshi [guitar] and Jamie Smith [beats/production] as they studied GCSE music at the same school [Elliot, south west London] Hot Chip, Burial and Four Tet emerged from.

It wasn't the disciplined music making factory you might anticipate.

The XX, the facts


WHAT: Enchanted south London mystery pop


FOR FANS OF: The Kills, Velvet Underground, Florence & The Machine, The Big Pink


DOWNLOAD: Crystalised




LIVE: Playing UK tour dates in May
introducing




"They had a lot of unruly kids and they had to look after those," recalls Oliver. "They just let us go off into other rooms and play the instruments whilst they were doing keyboards."

Soon after they began gigging close to their homes in London and officially anointed themselves The xx.

"Me and Oliver were sitting typing on Word. And I was like 'I like X's, I really like X's'. I just thought it was aesthetically pleasing. X is a really nice symbol," says Romy dreamily of the name.

"People always laugh at me picking out X's in like shadows and train bridges."

Debut release

The band released Crystalised their first single proper in April and have recorded their self-produced debut in the unusual surroundings of indie label XL's office, west London.

"In the actual offices where people work," whispers Romy. "It was like a garage when we first went there, like a mattress on the wall - it was really derelict and then they refurbished it and we were the first band in there."

"We worked with a lot of producers before but it ended up sounding more like them than us," adds Jamie. "Eventually just decided to do it myself."

With a cover you should take the essence of it and completely change the music side of it
Romy Madley Croft, The xx

Like the lead single, the album - untitled and yet to have a release date - promises to be a crushed potpourri of folky damaged beauty.

"Lots of themes to do with the sun and the moon and the stars," says Romy suggestively.

They've also gained a reputation - as Little Boots did this time last year - for covering other people's songs in their own trademark fragile fashion.

Including Womack and Womack's Tearsdrops and Aaliyah's Hot Like Fire.

"I've been inspired by the vocal melodies of R&B," says Romy.

Oliver: "When it comes to covers it's always choosing a song that's quite detached from where we're coming from and doing something new."

Romy: "With a cover you should take the essence of it and completely change the music side of it."

Conversationalists The xx might not be, but something musically special they certainly are.



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