The XX Factor

Gaelle Beri / Redferns / Getty Images

The xx on stage at Ireland's Electric Picnic festival

In 2009, shortly before the release of the xx's self-titled debut album, its management called the band in for a chat. It was a conversation aimed at preparing the painfully shy, strikingly young London trio for the reception that awaited its hip-yet-seemingly-uncommercial brand of understated electronic indie rock.

"They said, 'It's only your debut album,'" remembers singer-bassist Oliver Sim. "'Don't be disheartened if this record doesn't take you to a huge place.' "

Three years and over 1 million worldwide record sales later, such pessimism...

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