On their 2009 debut LP, the xx emerged with a minimalist style built on probing synth textures and chiming guitars. Critics were bewitched by the sound, as, apparently, were advertisers: As Pitchfork reports, a 2014 ad campaign from fashion company Hugo Boss – in which a sharp-dressed man drives around while sporting sunglasses – features a soundtrack that sounds eerily similar to the xx’s “Intro.” And on Friday, the band’s label, Young Turks, blasted Hugo Boss on Twitter. “As a firm built around original design, isn’t it odd that you’d pay for such a poorly disguised fake?,” wrote the label.
The label also retweeted responses agreeing with the accused plagiarism: “It’s not even trying for a disguise,” reads one comment. “Same key, bpm, proportions, melodies…wow.” Another individual wrote, “If @hugoboss can rip off The XX, can we buy ripoffs of their sunglasses?” Earlier in the week, when a user tweeted a link to the commercial to the label, Young Turks responded by calling the campaign “so gross.”
Hugo Boss did not respond to a request for comment from Rolling Stone.
Below, compare the ad with the xx’s “Intro.”
The xx began work on their third LP – their first since 2012’s Coexist – earlier this year in Marfa, Texas. In April, the band posted on Facebook, “We are writing + recording in Texas,” and they followed with a number of updates throughout that month. Their songwriting and recording journey has also taken them to Iceland: “For the past few weeks we have been writing and recording in Reykjavik,” the band wrote in August, calling the city “a truly unique, beautiful and hugely inspiring place.”