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.
So sultry and sensual it makes The xx sound like beginners’ luck, Coexist is going to be the midnight soundtrack to thousands of seductions over the next few decades.
It’s exciting to hear the minimalist U.K. trio approach their new-crush odes with such austerity in Coexist — just a few steady-droning Casios and an 808 rhythm that buh-bumps like a heartbeat.
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.
What makes this music special is what Smith does with all that stylized sparseness, transforming it into something alive and dynamic instead of merely sleepy. Millions of late-night love-letter authors will be grateful.
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.
Coexist is defined by its moments of silence and spaces between. The album is coloured and shaded gently by textural accents rather than big shifts in mood, or climaxes.
Their second album is a paean to silence. Compressed and contracted by the most minimal of arrangements, the spaces are where you’ll find the band’s emotional secrets.
Like their debut, ‘Coexist’ works best when enjoyed as a complete album, the band able to lull you slowly into their own world for 35-minutes.
Jamie Smith’s production is hugely impressive ... His contribution is just one eye-opening facet of a painfully sparse but also startlingly good album, one that almost disintegrates under the weight of its own sadness.
If it sounds a lot like the band’s first album it also sounds like they’ve worked hard to maintain that level of poise.
While the lyrics are a little lacking, the sonics remain impressive enough to divert attention.
For the most part Coexist's songs are defined as much by space as by sound. The gaps bring greater emphasis to the spidery guitar lines, the occasional steel pan, the distant icicles of piano, and the voices of Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim.
This album is one that begs to be lived with for a long period of time, its quiet details given ample room to germinate.
While the basic formula remains, Coexist lingers longer in the realm of sub-bass than its predecessor. Its low frequencies, irregular rhythms and slow-burning dance beats creep into the songs and draw us in deeper.
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.
Coexist's exploration of isolation and intimacy is demanding and rewarding in its bold subtlety and eloquent simplicity.
The basest summation of Coexist is that it’s an xx album on which the songwriting isn’t as good, but the production is better.
On their second LP, as on their 2009 debut, the Londoners are masters of restraint, building songs from simple chord progressions, delicate guitar and keyboard ostinatos, the gentle rub of Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim's his-and-hers croons – and, most of all, from silence.
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.
Coexist is a more sombre, earnest affair; it’s mostly languid, without any of the dancefloor fodder that made the first such a joy.
Despite the fact that Coexist is both gorgeous and thoughtful, it’s difficult not to be disappointed by its anticlimactic drift.
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
Coexist is definitely an album for the cocktail hour or for red wine. Alcohol has always been a prop to romance, but only in the short term: where xx was an album that got its hooks in you, Coexist becomes a somnolent atmosphere-in-itself, in which hooks are conspicuous by their absence.
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