- The xx - Coexist (Young Turks Records) Rating: 9 out of 10
It has been three long years since The xx released their debut album to huge critical response. In that time they have toured extensively but as a trio after the departure of Baria Qureshi from the band in late 2009.
There had been rumours of a second album release in 2011 but nothing materialized until recently. Fortunately the wait is over and The xx have delivered a superb collection of new songs.
From the opening track, "Angels," through the 11 tracks that make up Coexist, the album feels both fresh and familiar. Staying true to their original sound, the band has refined the interplay between both the vocals and the rhythms. Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim share the singing duties on most of the tracks but not as a duet instead more like two different views of the same song. When they are singing together like they do on "Tides," their distinct voices remain clear. They fill even the quiet moments with a wonderful tension that leaves you reaching for the softest notes while being seduced by their lyrics.
Jamie Smith has taken the experience he has gained from time spent DJing and creating club mixes and applied that timing and ability to hold the control of the crowd to great advantage on this latest album.
The themes of love, loneliness and intimacy wash over the simple chord progressions that are backed by a steady beat with Smith's percussions and loops. The beats are more complicated, like the drum rhythms on "Swept Away" but they never intrude on the songs' mood.
The band has maintained its minimalist style but has grown a maturity that is in contrast to their youth. This is an album that will stand up to repeat listening.
NEW CD RELEASES
Aimee Mann - Charmer; Band of Horses - Mirage Rock; Corine Tucker Band - Kill My Blues; Dinosaur Jr. - I Bet on Sky; The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Meat and Bone; Pink - The Truth About Love; Menomena - Moma; The Killers - Battle Born; Dinosaur Jr. - I Bet on Sky; The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Meat and Bone.
Bettye LaVette - Thankful N' Thoughtful; Deadmau5 - >album title goes here<; Dragonette - Bodyparts; John Hiatt - Mystic Pinball; No Doubt - Push and Shove; Yoko Ono, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon - YOKOKIMTHURSTON; Menomena - Moma; Rumer - Boys Don't Cry.
Beth Orton - Sugaring Season; Diana Krall - Glad Rag Doll; Iris Dement - Sing the Delta; Rupa and the April Fishes - Build; The Tragically Hip - Now for Plan A; Tift Merritt - Traveling Alone.