The xx’s “Coexist” Continues Their Legacy

The cover of The xxs new album, Coexist

The cover of The xx’s new album, Coexist

Pat Connell

The xx's new album, "Coexist," was released on September 10, 2012.

Back in 2009, English alternative trio The xx released their self-titled debut. It was received with massive praise and many accolades from several publications, such as the second best album of 2009 from NME (New Musical Express) and third best from Pitchfork Media. It had even won the Mercury Prize in 2010, which is awarded to the best album by a British or Irish band. Clearly there would be a lot hype surrounding their sophomore release, Coexist, which came out on September 10, 2012. Like its predecessor, Coexist is quiet, ominous, and pleasing to the ears.

For their newest LP, The xx have refined the sound they had produced before. Both of the singers, Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim, make it seem like they are each singing their own lines about love being lost. Most of the time, it does not  feel as though they are singing, but instead mumbling melodically. It is not a bad thing; it even seems to fit well with the feeling of their music. However, the music between the lyrics sounds the most like The xx fans have come to know. Throughout the album, most of the space between the choruses and verses are filled with simple beats, one-tone bass lines, and drifting guitar riffs that just seem to float off. Because most of the songs on Coexist have this particular air to them, they seem as if they are supposed to be listened to in order, due to the songs segueing into one another without pause. The two exceptions are the album’s bookends, “Angel” and “Our Song.”

“Angel,” released as a single back in July, is one of the album’s highlights. It is a ballad with barebones instrumentation; there are only vocals, guitar, and snare and bass drums, but it is sung with perfection. The two other standout songs, “Reunion” and “Sunset,” are also top notch. “Reunion” has mystifying steel drums playing in the background, while “Sunset” has one of the best guitar riffs on the whole album.

For those who are open to and/or enjoy listening to minimalistic, soft, brooding songs, this album is definitely worth a listen or two.