The xx deliver the long-awaited, beautiful follow-up to their eponymous debut LP
Coexist is the long-awaited follow up this amazing indie pop trio’s 2009 eponymous debut. After listening and listening to their debut, all The xx’s fans could do was sit on their hands and wait three years for the follow-up. Coexist finally came and it is as beautiful as we hoped.
Upon the first listen, this album is definitely a chilled out one, just like the first, but it’s mellow nature is never to be mistaken for a lack of solid content when it comes to The xx.
Opening track and lead single Angels is a refreshing return to indie pop, as told by The xx. The London-based trio’s minimalist sound is stripped of a few more layers, distant melodies are fondled by subtle drum undertones as Romy Madley Croft sings softly ‘they would be as in love with you as I am.’ The stripping away of the instrumental mirrors the feeling Croft sings of and you almost hear it a little better and then you completely feel it.
Coexist’s second single Chained, is another fantastic song. Very reminiscent of 2009’s The xx, Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft intertwine and overlap their vocals singing ‘we used to be closer than this…’ The song’s subtle dubstep beat coming to an abrupt, yet smooth end.
Leading into Fiction, this song is definitely not that. A haunting melody and a bridge that echoes those of the debut album’s Intro and Islands.
Jamie Smith is incredibly skilled at making a hollow instrumental seem pregnant with sounds. Oliver Sim opens with a dark, heavy vocal ‘my heart is beating in a different way, been gone such a long time…’ on Missing. As the song mellows, you wouldn’t be alone in thinking the song ends at 1:20 but it’s a poignant pause and the song returns with another layer of music that fits seamlessly, although previously absent. The track slows down again as Sim and Croft both offer vocals as the track leads into the songs ultimate instrumental – that truly captures a ‘missing’ essence.
The xx have cemented the sound of their first album, with very little deviation. Coexist is centred on their staple sound whilst some tracks further chip away at their hollow bearings and some tracks skilfully experiment with more upbeat sounds, as in Sunset and Swept Away.
You can detect the emotion in Sim’s and Croft’s voices as they lead us into a refined classic, cool, club sound, on the track Tides. It’s slightly reminiscent of their cover of Do You Mind?
Overall the album is another great one from The xx. Those who are big fans will listen to Coexist and think many a time ‘that sounds like another of their songs’. You may rummage through your iTunes and find a similar track but ultimately you know it’s very different.
The xx have successfully refined their sound, to the point each song often sounds like a counterpart but each song also harbours a distinct individuality, that continues to ring fresh in the listener’s ear upon each listen.
Their popularity was proved as they released their album in an extremely cool experiment that proves just how much we really coexist. The location of a website which hosted a free preview of Coexist was given to one single fan on September 3, it was viewed and shared by millions of people before the album’s worldwide release on September 11.
Head to the website to watch how it spread across the world.
Coexist shot straight to number one in its first week on the UK album charts and number five on the Billboard 200. Proving that it doesn’t matter how long you leave your fans pining for more, if you’re that good, you’re just that good.
Buy this album on iTunes: The xx – Coexist