Album review: Coexist - The xx

By Scott Kara

The xx. Photo / Supplied
The xx. Photo / Supplied

Find yourself an intimate, quiet place. It doesn't matter if it's a cosy beanbag or a darkened and moody room to move and swoon around in, because The xx are both the sound of hushed rock and spine-tingling dance music.

They made a quiet splash in 2009 with the release of their self-titled debut and songs like VCR and Intro (sampled by Rihanna on her last album).

And though follow-up Coexist is perhaps not quite as impressive as that debut, only because of the simple fact you know what to expect this time round, it unravels and reveals itself with more self-assurance.

For starters, the intimacy of the dual boy-girl vocals of Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim has intensified rather than coming across as coy. And as quiet and stoic as many of the 11 songs are, the subtle shifts from calm to groove-inducing are magical to the point of transitory.

Like the gentle opening refrain of Angels, which is also laced with spare, penetrating beats; the ambient throb and trance of Reunion with echoes of what sound like steel pan drums, and the way the tranquility of Sunset also has an incessant need to keep a playful, bouncy beat pumping.

The most remarkable quality of The xx's music is how the songs still manage to conjure up an energy and intrigue despite being beautifully understated. It's exquisite.

Stars: 4/5
Verdict: Another exquisite beauty from London trio
Click here to buy The xx's newest album, Coexist.


- NZ Herald

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