Review

The xx

Coexist

Young Turks • 2012

Hardly any other album in the last few years has created such high expectations as »Coexist«, the successor of The xx’s widely praised debut. After having had produced their debut – the album with maybe the highest grades for integrity of the last decade – in a South-Londo basement, it took Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith three years to answer the question: “What could possibly succeed their first record, without recording the very same album over again?” »Coexist« answers this question with a kind of softness and introversion that even beats the debut. Jamie xx again proves himself not only a genius when it comes to MPC, but especially a virtuoso of delays and reverbs, a master of creating space, practically worshiping the impressive yet engrossed voices of Croft and Sim. Without any coercion, »Coexist« is a record of dramaturgical deliberation and musical integrity, with its hazy club-beats, its guitar strings barely touched and its softly stroked basses. It is this incredible understanding of aloofness and carefulness on the edge of humbleness, which make The xx one of the greatest bands of our time. Hardly any other sound in the last few years has been more contemporary yet timeless. Hardly any other band has done such great justice to the rather outdated format of the studio-album – both debut and successor could just as well be understood as one single track. And hardly any other band of the new millennium has ever confronted the unspeakability of simple truths about the supposed end of the world, about everything that has been said before, with such directness. Instead of only referring to ones very own identity as a contemporary conjunction within the ocean of references (which might actually be the most poignant perspective in contemporary pop-music), »Coexist« opens up in its evident humanity, leading The xx back to the very core of musical creation, completely free of vanity of any kind. If there is any criticism concerning their fear of change or the simpleness of their lyrics, it is answered through their second record, which is more than enough the way it is, and which, for the second time, turns apparent weaknesses into qualities. »Coexist« is missing nothing, because there’s simply nothing else to say.