I See You is marked by a tonal shift to something close to pure, crisp pop structure, adorned by unusual crescendos that echo a dextrous DJ inching their dancer toward climax without ever quite lifting the house lights. Its lyric sheet moves from the danger and hopelessness of love to its deliciousness and rapture; a move into a more outward looking proposition.
I See You is recognizably still The xx but is now powered by the voluble ambition of its three perfect counterweights to one another starting to not just realize but harness their full potential. You might even want to think of the decisive move from Joy Division to New Order here, too.
When they take their plum festival slots in 2017, armed with the ten most robust songs of their career, The xx should prick the skin and touch gently the shoulder of an audience reaching to the back of the field.