The xx
Coexist


4.0
excellent

Review

by fish CONTRIBUTOR (43 Reviews)
March 8th, 2013 | 53 replies | 4,879 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Don't call it a sophomore slump

In some ways, xx is comparable to The Weeknd’s House of Balloons (forget for a moment that it was released first). Both albums are dark, sexy and seductive, but in being driven by ideas around naivety and lust both rely on immediacy and direct effect. In the same way, Coexist could be seen as The xx’s Thursday. With spidery guitars, delicate vocal duos and precise percussion, it’s still the same core style as xx, but Coexist progresses The xx’s sound to the next logical step in the band’s story- one which portrays the gritty fatigue following the comedown after the début and its themes of youth and immaturity.

Coexist is all about the subtleties. In contrast to before, The xx’s sound seems matured and weary, and it’s certainly not as immediately enjoyable or coherent as it was on xx. The tight-knit confines of the debut have been blown into desolate landscapes that barely string together the fragmented and skeletal motifs within, but every moment is meticulously planned; no note doesn’t serve a purpose and no sound (or lack of) is included if it isn’t necessary. The vocals are weary and detached (with Modley Croft and Oliver Sim often going long periods without interacting), filled with emotional longing and nostalgia for the innocent and happy days of before. The reverb has been increased, distancing the delicate guitar licks from the rest of the music whilst mechanical 2-step beats whir underneath- further driving forward that harsh and cold sense of tension, sleeplessness and detachment. Influences from club music are twisted and decayed, reflecting that sense of nostalgia and deterioration as if to paint an image of a deserted dance-floor. A soft bass rumbles in the depths and sprinklings of a variety of different instruments are scattered throughout. In between is space, which serves just as an important role and has just as much of an effect as the actual music; and above it all are the sleeper hooks, which take several listens to dig and bury beneath the skin. There is an almost unbearable tension between all the parts of the music- a constant anticipation for the moment when another part will enter and collide with another, completely changing the tone and atmosphere of the music with just a little slide, gentle click or perfect moment of harmony. At times, in the deliberately paced trance of the music, it feels like that moment may never come.

Coexist is a remarkable achievement. The xx have taken parts of their sound to their extremes and stripped down their music to such an extent that every minute detail and hint of transition slams with intense effect. “Angel” is captivating, catchy and brimming with pained emotion, but works simply off Modley Croft’s delicate vocals, some sparse guitar notes and the occasional tapping of percussion; incredible considering it serves the role of lead single. In “Missing”, a moment of silence lingers a little longer than seems comfortable, sending the music crashing down when it re-enters with nothing more than a slightly altered and conflicted tempo. The beats will shift every now and again or a subtle guitar riff will kick in (such as on “Tides”), jump-starting a shallow groove. A note will hang in the air just a little longer than it should do. Once in a while the music will come together for a fleeting moment of perfect harmony, before falling to pieces again. Every element of the music works towards that intense emotional stupor and it takes several listens to truly appreciate. Coexist is music in tatters, and that’s exactly how it was meant to be.



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user ratings (362)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
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  • Robbie Byrne (2.5)
    Copy and paste formula fails to enthral as much as its predecessor....

    Grant Thomas (3)
    Minimizing the minimal....

    GiantMan (4.5)
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    EoinMcKenzie (2)
    Becoming more understated and quiet doesn't help The xx this time around....

  • LudditeStereo (4)
    At its hollow core, Coexist is an album about two people who seemingly no longer can....

    Andru Okenuf (2.5)
    Though the XX have become better and more well-rounded musicians, they’ve lost much of t...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
fish.
Contributing Reviewer
March 8th 2013



20204 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Came out a while ago but whatever

“Angels”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nW5AF0m9Zw
“Missing”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-tXTjaP99Y
“Unfold”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O89SBU4ZRs


Digging: YG - My Krazy Life

Mookid
March 8th 2013



1294 Comments


album was terrible

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
March 8th 2013



20204 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nope

Took about 6 or 7 listens to click though

Mookid
March 8th 2013



1294 Comments


Eh, that's just it for me

Like, if it doesn't click on the first listen (a lot of albums don't unless they are extremely
catchy), then i'll just give it like a 2.5 or 2

Happened to me with this album, but I suppose I might give it another listen here shortly

halloway
March 8th 2013



684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album is awesome. Great review. I'd pos this if I could find the button...

bloc
March 8th 2013



34499 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thought this was crap

Digging: He Is Legend - I Am Hollywood

breakingthefragile
March 8th 2013



2935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I completely agree with this review.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
March 8th 2013



48540 Comments


Isn't this one of those overhyped NME bands

Digging: The Hotelier - Home, Like NoPlace Is There

TooLateToGoBack
March 8th 2013



1674 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

One of my favorite albums of last year.

"Missing" is fucking spectacular.

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2013



10000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

no trebor incorrect

InFiction
March 8th 2013



3587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Yeah, it took a good few listens for it to click with me, too.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
March 8th 2013



20204 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I probably wouldn't have given this so many chances had I not felt there was something more to get. I probably would have rated a 2 based off my first three listens but even then I kinda saw what they were getting at here

Calc
March 8th 2013



10856 Comments


must've stayed up all night thinking of that summary lol

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
March 8th 2013



20204 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm awful at summaries

Calc
March 8th 2013



10856 Comments


oh btw i always wondered, how do you pronounce this bands name?

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
March 8th 2013



20204 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I thought it was "the ecks ecks"

halloway
March 8th 2013



684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They should put a sticker: "headphones required" on this album. Just not the same in any other environment.

Calc
March 8th 2013



10856 Comments


yeah fish thats wat i thought just checking lol

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
March 8th 2013



20204 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I had so much to say about this so apologies if the review is a bit wordy. Was a pain to write

zxlkho
March 8th 2013



3424 Comments


yeaaaa this was a sophomore slump. incredibly boring compared to the debut.



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