To reproduce the sound he had heard on the band's demos, Mc Donald had them write down their instruments' settings and test different areas of the studio to determine where he should record each member.
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Although the xx had been strongly influenced by R&B acts, the album also drew comparisons from critics to alternative rock, electronica, and post-punk sounds.
The melancholic songs on xx featured minimalist arrangements and were built around Smith's beats, Oliver Sim's basslines, and sparse guitar figures played by Baria Qureshi and Romy Madley Croft, who employed reverb in her lead guitar parts.
It sold steadily over its first few years of release, becoming a sleeper hit in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Although none of its singles became hits, xx benefited commercially from the licensing of its songs to television programs and the band's Mercury Prize win for the album in 2010.
xx is the 2009 debut album by English indie pop band the xx.
After they signed a contract with XL Recordings, the band recorded the album from December 2008 to February 2009 at the label's in-house studio in London.
When Qureshi was dismissed from the group shortly after the album's release, the xx continued to play as a trio on a protracted concert tour that helped increase their fanbase, reputation in the press, and confidence as performers.
The record proved highly influential in subsequent years, as its distinctive stylistic elements were incorporated by many indie bands and top-selling pop acts.
The microphones were among the more expensive items he borrowed for the studio's preliminary setup so XL would not be overwhelmed with a costly budget.
Despite Mc Donald's close involvement, the xx had been encouraged to self-produce their album by Russell; he believed it would remain faithful to both the band's distinctive live sound and the DIY ethic practiced at XL since its beginnings as a rave label.
In 2013, xx was ranked number 237 on NME magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.