HAD XX WENT R’N’B
Inc.’s no world is genre appropriation done technically right but still feels like genre tourism, which gives the record an off feeling. The problem with referential work is that sometimes it can feel too self-conscious of what it is; a creative approximation of the original. As such they can sound either too careful (out of respect for the source material) or too deconstructed (out of the desire to evolve the source material).
Take the trap (of the rap kind, not the bastardised EDM version) influenced ‘5 Days’ and ‘The Place’ for example, their spot on the record belies the duo’s fixation towards ‘80s r’n’b. Instead they nod to the current milieu of the internet-birthed electronic-r’n’b sound. Don’t get us wrong though, opener ‘The Place’ is probably the best song off the LP. It sets the landscape of the rest of the album; faint, minimalist, and whispery – like a The xx record that went rogue with r’n’b.
Maybe our knowledge isn’t up to par, but the album reeks of ‘90s r’n’b and Timbo during his Aaliyah years. The ’80s sound, if they had really kept to it, is limited to ‘Seventeen’ (check out the cheesiness mid-song) while the rest is decidedly modern. Or maybe era appropriation has caught up with us to the point where we can’t discern the difference? In which case, Inc. is successful then.
LISTEN TO: ‘The Place’, ‘Careful’, ‘5 Days’
IF YOU LIKE THIS YOU’LL DIG: How to Dress Well, The xx