The xx

The xx

The xx


Young Turks

The first time I heard The xx’s Coexist, I was browsing the racks at the local record store — ironically, holding this very release in my hand with every intention of buying it based on my great love for their 2009 debut. The naked sounds of the new album washed over me as I shuffled the stack of used cds in my hands, and I felt… bored. I felt a little annoyed, even. Where were the beats? Where were the head-bopping melodies and the singable lines like I am yours now/ So now I don’t ever have to leave/ I’ve been found out/ So now I’ll never explore (from “Islands”)? Where were the soft hushes made quieter by the cranked up guitars and drum samples that follow?

Disappointed, I put the album back on the shelf.

…but curiosity and optimism got the best of me, and soon Coexist found its way into my speakers. After a few more listens, The xx won out.

It’s more unplugged than the first record, as unbelievable as that concept seems, and is minimal in both production and volume. The stark poetry of internalized electronic pop experimentation doesn’t always work — “Reunion,” with its steel drum sounds and lack of a cohesive melody grates on my nerves more with each listen — but when it does, it’s as gorgeous as anything off of the first album.

“Chained,””Fiction,” and “Swept Away” are the easiest songs to grasp hold of, with the subtle dance beat tickling the background behind the male/female dual vocals of Oliver Sim and Romy Madley-Croft. Producer Jamie xx has, once again, found a way to marry electronic sounds with real world voices in order to create something impossibly beautiful.

“Tides” starts as a slow-as-molasses nearly a capella performance by the pair before easing into a haunting pop melody that owes thanks to both The Doors and former tour mates, Hot Chip — a modern age psychedelic groove, piled deep with mood, but danceable all the same.

Much like The Cure, The xx will have you swaying with a smile one minute, and crying into your black lace gloves the next. “Missing,” which finds Sims sounding nearly as baritone as Leonard Cohen, and the long-distance ache of “Unfold” are sweet demonstrations of pain and longing. And, let’s face it, some sick part of us all just looooves to wallow in those aches. At least, with a band like The xx, the wallow often comes with a dance-beat.

The xx:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Christian Scott
    Christian Scott

    Rebel Ruler (Ropeadope / Stretch Music). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Kivanç Sezer
    Kivanç Sezer

    Turkish director Kivanç Sezer’s powerful debut feature, My Father’s Wings, puts the spotlight on the workplace safety crisis that is currently taking place in his homeland. Lily and Generoso Fierro spoke with Sezer at SEEFest 2017 about his film and his need to draw attention to this issue.

  • Temples

    Supporting their just-released sophomore record, UK synth-pop poster boys, Temples, attracted an SRO crowd to one of Orlando’s premier nightspots.

  • Rat Film
    Rat Film

    Baltimore. Rats. A match made in Maryland.

  • Bishop Briggs
    Bishop Briggs

    Bishop Briggs brings a stacked bill of up and comers to Orlando for a sold-out party at The Social. Jen Cray joins in the fun.

  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World
    Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

    There’s more than black music influencing the evolution of Rock and Roll. Native American rhymes and ideas are every bit as significant, once you know to look for them.

  • Keith Morris
    Keith Morris

    Ink 19 slings a few questions to the punk rock pioneer Keith Morris on Trump, Calexit and looking back.

  • Soul Understated
    Soul Understated

    Soul Understated was a swizzle stick of jazz, funk, pop with a dash of Radiohead in the delightful DC cocktail.

  • Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu
    Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu

    That Trip We Took With Dad is the debut feature by acclaimed Romanian short film director Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu. Generoso Fierro sat down with Lǎzǎrescu during SEEFest to discuss the comedy and drama within the adaptation of her deeply personal family story for the screen.

  • Aware

    The Book Of Wind (Glacial Movements). Review by Carl F Gauze.

From the Archives