The xx

The xx

The xx

Coexist

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: thexx.info

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.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

Recently on Ink 19...

  • The Reading Room
    The Reading Room

    Today’s episode features author Anna-Marie O’Brien talking about her book Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian: A Rock N’ Roll Memoir with Ink 19’s Rose Petralia.

  • Bush Tetras
    Bush Tetras

    Rhythm and Paranoia (Wharf Cat). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tom Tom Club
    Tom Tom Club

    The Good The Bad and the Funky (Nacional). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Barnes & Barnes
    Barnes & Barnes

    Pancake Dream (Demented Punk Records). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

From the Archives