Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The xx - Coexist

The Mercury award winning trio return with the sophomore album, Coexist, retaining their distinctive blend of chilled synths, low-key beats and hushed vocals. 

The xx's debut album (entitled 'xx') landed in 2009 to almost universal acclaim; the understated and dulcet tones of Romy Madley-Croft winning the band plaudits from magazines like the NME and eventually winning the Mercury Music Prize.

Following in the footsteps of other big name British artists like Primal Scream, Klaxons, Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, The xx have had pretty high expectations going to into their second record. So whilst Coexist doesn't surpass it's predecessor, it certainly doesn't fail to match it.

The band's usual minimalist musical elements and melodic nature is still as evident here as it was in 2009. Lead single (and opening track) 'Angels' is a particularly moving piece that see's vocalist Romy Madley-Croft crooning about deeply loving someone - uncharted territory for a group who are traditionally so melancholic and heartbroken.

Fear not however; the band don't stray too far, showing that there is still plenty of heartbreak to be had on their second record. The second track 'Chained' is a perfect example of this, the line "We used to be closer than this" uttered with deep emotion and soul. The vocal interplay between Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim works well, just as it did on tracks like 'Crystallised' and 'Islands'.

Other stand-out tracks from Coexist include the bass-laden third track 'Fiction', the tranquil, club-beat infused sixth track 'Sunset' and mellow closer 'Our Song'. There really wasn't a single track that left me reaching for the skip button, showcasing the strength of each and every track on this engrossing and captivating record.

One of my only complaints was the length of some of the songs on the album. With only one song over four minutes long, I was left feeling that the album passed by a little quicker than I hoped. Stretching out some of the songs wouldn't have gone a miss, especially around the mid-point.

Maintaining a high-standard of quality throughout then, Coexist is a suitable follow-up to The xx's first album. It reaffirms the band's true talent at producing some carefully crafted and chilled work and tugs at heartstrings and tear-ducts alike.

The xx - Coexist: 8/10
Download these: Angels, Fiction, Sunset

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