Rating: *** ½
In 2009, two Brits seemingly appeared out of thin air and blew away critics. Their self-titled album, XX, wowed music experts globally, finishing sixth on Rolling Stone’s top albums of the year. Three years later, The XX released their follow-up album, Coexist, delivering more of the same brilliance they have been acclaimed for prior.
Inspired by dance music from clubbing while off tour, Coexist marries the mellow, ambient tones of indie pop with the quintessential synths of house and electro. This new sound is most notable on the track, “Try,” which opens with a softer Dutch synth the hypnotically drones behind the vocals of Romy Croft and Oliver Sim. The contradicting 4/4 bass beat pattern and ominous chords seemingly elevate the album, delivering long-time fans with the sound they fell in love with, while offering a more developed sound to new comers.
The Romy-Oliver vocal duo haunts their minimalistic songs, never straining and never reaching. One word can easily describe their voices: synergy. Simple lyrics about simple things will drive any listener inward. Coexist is an album of reflection rather than explication.
The XX are maturing as songwriters and musicians, perfecting the “less is more” approach to music. Still in its infancy, this band will undoubtedly grow in the coming years, and lullaby their audience into spiritual awakening.