The xx‘s epochal debut album thrived on a blueprint almost as simple as the band’s name: seduction and … wait for it … suspense. The marriage of spacious production and sultry vocals seems like a cliché today, but when singers Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft and producer Jamie xx came together in 2009, it was a revelatory combination. In the five years since, Jamie xx appeared to resist any urge to hone that same vibe on his own singles — “Far Nearer” and “Beat For” in 2011, and “Sleep Sound” from earlier this year – but on his latest song, “Girl,” the sexual tension is back, and for the better. This doesn’t exactly sound like The xx — the tempo is higher and the bass has more bounce — but while Jamie xx’s shift in aesthetics ensured he wasn’t pigeonholed, this corner of the bedroom seems to be where he’s most comfortable. “Girl” is his best tune yet.
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