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Coexist (12" Vinyl + CD) [VINYL]
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This edition of The XX's sophomore album Coexist features the full album on both 12" vinyl and CD.
Subtlety comes in several shades, sometimes so slight as to be near imperceptible. The xx, Mercury winners with their 2009 debut and unlikely global stars since, were never going to overhaul their sound for album two; but spend a while in Coexist’s company and the London trio’s evolution is evident.
On a first spin, little might appear to have changed. Angels opens, starring Romy Madley Croft’s delicate voice set against a guitar that chimes its presence with an unhurried effortlessness. So far, so very debut-over-again.
But Coexist isn’t a straight continuation from the past; The xx broke from the routine of promotion, of filling headspaces with thoughts of what happens next, to rediscover lives outside of the band. Upon reconvening, fresh ideas formed, and many have found a place on Coexist.
Lyrically it’s a love album, from the first flushes of affection to the trauma of separation. This constant allows the music to spin out into new shapes. Try opens with a strangled synth whine, immediately reminiscent of G-funk; Reunion is carried on steel pans, lending it a Caribbean feel; and Swept Away rides a classic house beat with the pitch slowed so very… yes, subtly.
The latter track, Coexist’s penultimate number, is sure to stir thoughts of Todd Terry’s remixes for Everything but the Girl – serendipitous given Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt have previously covered The xx’s Night Time. It’s a standout, as is Fiction, Oliver Sim’s first true solo vocal after the ethereal drift of the debut’s interlude-y Fantasy.
If the production at the heart of The xx has progressed at glacier-like pace, Sim’s contributions have taken giant leaps forward. Confidence gleaned from hundreds of live performances between albums can be heard on every take.
Jamie Smith’s nudging upwards of the BPM represents advancement, too. Some may miss the (more) minimalist design of xx, but Coexist isn’t without hold-your-breath dynamics: a break to silence in Missing is followed by a tremendous return by Sim. It’s an electrifying moment.
With a signature sound established at the first time of asking, The xx’s challenge was to both expand their palette and satisfy the demands of a huge audience. And through refinement rather than reinvention, they’ve succeeded in singular style.
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Top Customer Reviews
a stunner; as single minded a celebration of the dark dreams of youth as
it is possible to imagine. Romy Croft and Oliver Sim's capacity to make
us feel both a first kiss and the edge of the grave in the same breath
endeared them to a generation (or three) in search of a sound which might
come somewhere close to pinning down our feelings in these troubled times.
That they do so with such conviction and elan is a tribute to their singular
craftsmanship and uncompromising vision. 'Coexist' delivers further revelations.
The eleven songs in this new collection are really quite painfully magnificent.
Each terse title; each elusive but curiously heart-warming melody; each
spare but perfectly punctuated arrangement has such immediate impact on our
emotions that it is impossible to imagine how it could have been bettered.
The rhythmic structure of several of the compositions have greater presence
and definition than their earlier work and this turns out to be a canny
development. Numbers such as 'Chained', 'Sunset' and especially 'Tides',
despite their gloomy narratives, set our toes tapping despite ourselves but
highly disciplined sonic restraint remains the order of the day. Ms Croft and
Mr Sim were clearly born to sing together. Rarely have two voices sounded so
at home with one another. The keening guitar and measured vocal performances
of 'Try' (surely their finest moment?Read more ›
So, let's imagine you're trying to work out whether to buy "coexist." Here's the questions to ask yourself:
Have you owned an XX album before?
No, well, buy the eponymous album, it's the better one by far.
Yes, it's the eponymous album.
Did you like it?
No, then don't bother with this, it's basically the same sort of thing with a few new noises in it.
Yes, well, better play it twice, 'cos it's rather better than this one, and there's nothing new here to waste your money on.
Altogether, a bit disappointing.
I enjoyed their live show in support of this album, but the difference between the new songs and the old songs was palpable, and one could sense the entire audience becoming bored during long sections of the show where there were more strategic silences than melodic rushes to stimulate the audience.
No hit singles will mean the XX descend into cult-hood, I reckon, unless they come up with something special for album 3.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I know i am really really late to the Party but, my goodness, these are good. The follow up album is pretty much as good.
What a find..
Love, love, love this album. The xx are a great band, this is their second album and is not to be missed.Published 5 months ago by Lucy
The package arrived around a week late. The external transparent plastic case was in poor conditions - all crumpled and bent.
The album itself is ok (sort of). Read more