The xx - Coexist

After storming the UK music scene in 2009 with their album xx, Mercury prize winners The xx are back with another aural delight. Coexist eases the listener in with their single releases from early this summer, Angels and Chained. Angels has a haunting emptiness to it, with Romy’s vocals surrounded with space-like riffs. Chained follows suit with Oliver and Romy’s rough, distinctive, and unique vocal harmonies, which appear sporadically throughout the album, and not nearly enough.

The album takes a darker turn with Try, my favourite track from it. Rhythmic pitch bending and a nice balance of solo vocals is enhanced by The xx's trademark tight percussive beats. Reunion surprised me with the appearance of steel pans at the beginning of the track, which gave it a surprisingly organic feel, especially considering the band’s electronic style. This new take develops into a typical The xx minimalist hypnotic beat, which rings out with a club-song influence, most likely originating from band member Jamie Smith.

Sunset is of a similar style to the first two tracks, whilst Missing keeps the dark theme and introduces the fleeting appearance of a catchy electronic bass line. Tides and Unfold are tracks that I would say become lost in the album. They are very nondescript, yet trademark The xx tracks, with gentle vocals from Romy and tight, percussive riffs. The album approaches its end with what seems to be a disinterested track called Swept Away, but which then develops into a rhythmic sequence that washes over the listener. Finally the reflective Our Song closes the album.

If you like an album which can swarm your listening experience with repetitive minimal beats and riffs, and unique and refreshingly untrained vocals, Coexist will serve you well. I could happily listen to this on repeat. However, with their tracks presented as though they were 'ideas', I always feel like I'm being cheated out of hearing what those ideas could of become if the tracks were a longer length. But then again, it wouldn’t be The xx that way.

Coexist by The xx is out on Monday 10th September via XL Recordings.

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