The xx lay out all of their pieces beautifully. There are no extraneous parts. Not a second that they didn’t intend.
What could have been an overly ambitious sophomore effort is instead a concise, novella of an album that makes a deep impression and leaves a mark as it drifts away.
Coexist presents a version of The xx that listeners will recognize, but cleans everything up a bit, subtly stretching and improving the formula that won acclaim.
The end result is a quieted, more suppressed record that steps delicately from one note to the next and shines even more of a spotlight on the twin vocal sentiments of longing and crumbled romance.
Coexist surges forward and retreats within itself more than its predecessor but still never breaks the surface, existing in the liminal space between a song and a thought.
The album is a testament to what makes them great artists: the ability to take influences and mix in some of their own original thought to create that signature sound.
It hides more than ‘xx’ did, sneaking its miserable joys behind bare spaces, surprise time signatures and subtle dramas.
Overall, it’s a successful return, and a record that demonstrates the success of their debut wasn’t a fluke and that The xx truly are masters of musical alchemy.
The most appealing thing about this record is that this band, having created a brilliant and moving sound, returns to it again for another 38 minutes.
It’s a calculated tradeoff: use space and silence to heighten an album’s intimacy, lose some immediacy.
Neither spectacular or deflating, Coexist is simply the sound of the xx, more or less just as we left it: minimalist, intuitive, romantic and enchanting.
It's a good follow-up, just not a great one. More annoyingly, it feels like it could have been better.
It’s hard not to feel that one of the year’s most anticipated releases only keeps you waiting and waiting for something more to happen.
Yes, it's as laid-back and relaxing as pop music can get, but the sparseness has transcended the band's aesthetic and wormed its way into their hitherto impressive creative oeuvre
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