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I met with Madley Croft a few hours before the show.A strikingly pale woman of twenty-four with a quiet, slightly lisping voice, she was dressed all in black: T-shirt, tight jeans, and round-toed boots. The band’s members, all similarly diffident, resist defining themselves as rock stars—or defining themselves at all.“She was just very worried about how everybody else was doing. Not once.”Madley Croft’s father died, apparently of complications from alcoholism, soon after the release of “xx.” Another cousin, to whom she was also close, died of a brain tumor.But Madley Croft rejects the idea that these hardships help explain the band’s moody aesthetic.
The songs were as intimate as pillow talk—murmuring and sighing against an almost silent background—but the two singers stood separated by the d.j.
The new album was another collection of plaintive ballads, but the band, praised for its spare style, reduced its arrangements almost to nothing; some verses were just a single voice over the distant whistle of one of Smith’s samplers. charts, but failed to generate the critical acclaim of the first album.
Released in September, 2012, the album débuted at No. Some complained that it showed little musical advance over “xx” and suffered from an airless mood and fussy production—flaws that the band reluctantly acknowledges.
The idea originated with Caius Pawson, a twenty-eight-year-old Londoner who manages the band, owns its record label, and acts as a kind of creative facilitator. ” He explained, “The first album came out of their limitations.
“The sound, the songs, everything, existed before me,” Pawson told me. Their second LP was about them thinking they had to hold onto those limitations. Making them do things they fear.”Three days after the last Armory performance, the xx were in Athens, Georgia, to play at a thousand-seat theatre.