The xx
Coexist


2.5
average

Review

by Andru Okenuf USER (31 Reviews)
September 4th, 2012 | 100 replies | 13,584 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Though the XX have become better and more well-rounded musicians, they’ve lost much of the chemistry that made their debut so special

13 of 16 thought this review was well written

In 2009, the dueling voices of Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim, coupled with backing from Jamie Smith (better known as Jamie XX) and Baria Qureshi, rendered the XX an international sensation. Their debut album cast the young artists into the spotlight, something that took them very much by surprise. After the album was declared the #1 album of 2009 by The Guardian and #2 by NME, they were given the Mercury Prize in 2010. For a bunch of shy kids who recorded the majority of the album as teenagers, expectations were high for a sophomore release.

And while sophomore slump seems a little harsh for an album that is at times enjoyable, ‘Coexist’ leaves listeners with something to be desired. The deep, seductive nature of the debut seems lost and replaced by an unromantic desire to simply trudge forward into some sort of tryst that neither is particularly looking forward to. The second single, Chained, despite having an interesting Burial-esque beat supplied by Jaime XX, exemplifies this lack of intimacy with the lyrical refrain repeating “we used to be closer than this”, a far cry from the sexualized nature of the debut.

While it’s hard to know the creative effect lost by Baria Qureshi’s departure from the band had (Modley Croft described her exit as ‘like a divorce), there is an unrefined element to their sound that strongly suggests Qureshi had a larger influence on the final product than we might have imagined. Powerful moments of silence that made the rest of the album speak more loudly in 2009 more often than not are replaced by a club beat that simply pounds this effort forward. When gaps in the music occur, they are mostly as pauses between aimless notions, and do little to bring sounds together.

Lead single Angels will be how the album will be judged by many for better or worse. While Modley Croft’s voice is as gorgeous as ever, she can only capture so much of our attention by repeating the refrain “Being as in love with you as I am”. As much as the album is always about to break through, like when the vocalists play off of each other gorgeously during Missing, the magic feels fleeting and is quickly lost. Swept Away, one of the most interesting tracks on the back half of the album, rescues it to an extent, but even it falls flat when measured next to a debut track such as Basic Space.

A microcosm of the album is described very succinctly with the track Try. Jamie Smith provides an excellent and interesting beat, but rather than working with Oliver's voice, Oliver struggles to keep pace. Smith is content to showcase his talent - he's evolved a lot stylistically since the first album but that does not necessarily play out well for the band. The deep pulsating bass of Fantasy, which leads perfectly into Shelter has nothing to match it on this release.

As one of the more recognized names in indie music, the XX will surely continue to garner a lot of positive attention, they will be on the cover of magazines and they’ll continue to be hounded by the paparazzi. The fame of Jamie XX in particular, whose influence is heavily felt on the album, will only continue to grow. And while a lot of the time he produces some great beats for this album, more often than not the magic of the XX is lost.



Recent reviews by this author
The Future Sound of London LifeformsTricky Maxinquaye
Anais Mitchell Young Man in AmericaExoplanet Nothing Divides Us Here
Nicolas Jaar Don't Break My LoveSmoke Room Vol. 2
user ratings (378)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
aok
September 4th 2012



4294 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The band is streaming the album at http://coexist.thexx.info . This review was originally posted at
http://www.thealtreview.net/2012/08/31/the-xx-coexist-2/

I'd post youtube tracks from the new album, but you'd be better off just listening to the debut. This
has some redeeming qualities and maybe I was a little harsh cause I had high expectations but wellyea,
this was a disappointment

ILJ
September 4th 2012



6619 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Nevermind.

Album was damn disappointing. Just so....bland compared to their debut.

Digging: Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun

aok
September 4th 2012



4294 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

sir iljajlm sir, go to the xx's official website and look again sir sir

fuckthatnoise
September 4th 2012



1479 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

loved this. every bit as good as their debut.

When gaps in the music occur, they are mostly as pauses between aimless notions, and do little to bring sounds together.


lol the fuck are you talking about?

Pentagon
September 4th 2012



1998 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Just so....bland compared to their debut. " (2)

fuckthatnoise
September 4th 2012



1479 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the beats are not only the best thing ABOUT this album, but they are what really separates this album from the debut in terms of direction and atmosphere.

Calc
September 4th 2012



12006 Comments


how do you pronounce this bands name? The double x or the "ecks ecks"

Digging: Kashiwa Daisuke - April. #02

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2012



4507 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah album's weak

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2012



7314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I often wonder whether I'm listening to the same record as some people, especially those claiming it's 'more of the same.'

Great though their debut was, I think that its sound was relatively primitive. This is a really nice progression, and I especially like how Jamie's influence has seemingly increased.

Well written review, I just disagree.

Rail
September 4th 2012



489 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

If this album ends up on Panorama or Crimewatch for the next three years, I'll blow George Entwhistle's brains out.

Good review Andy. I agree that it feels more pedestrian in terms of emotion and what not.

Digging: Tipper - Forward Escape

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
September 4th 2012



4381 Comments


Another excellent review, Andy. I'll probably look into this out of curiosity.

TooLateToGoBack
September 4th 2012



1753 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Shame, I was really looking forward to this.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2012



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

still trying to get my hands on this. i hope i like it more than you did, partially because i might be seeing them on the 10th.

good review though.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2012



49791 Comments


I've never heard this band and I guess that will still be true
slick review as always Andy

Digging: Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) - You Will Eventually Be Forgotten

PuddlesPuddles
September 4th 2012



4766 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I don't know why their debut blew up as big as it did, but this didn't do it for me either. Such a bland fucking band

ILJ
September 4th 2012



6619 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Their debut was awesome. This isn't.

mindleviticus
September 4th 2012



8168 Comments


This is terrible. Lovely review though, Andy!

chambered49
September 4th 2012



1727 Comments


completely agree, pos

HSThomas
September 4th 2012



668 Comments


Yet another victim of the hipster hoards.

cvlts
September 4th 2012



8954 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

have had this queued up for awhile. hope i like it more than you...



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy