This review, like the album itself, will be short (the album is 11 tracks and 38 minutes long). If you liked the first The xx album, then by all means pick up Coexist, the sophomore effort by the British trio. If you are a fan of the first album, there is everything to like about this latest release.
Coexist sets a new standard in textural minimalism. There is nothing to hide behind on this album because there is such soft and minimal instrumentation. Nothing competes musically with anything else. There is no guitar wailing over a chorus or drums overtaking anything else. This approach works fantastically as a complement to the dual vocalists the band uses, a concept that makes each song a dialog which is novel in a good way.
In terms of highlight cuts, “Reunion” has a cool steel drum and bass guitar piece which is representative of the instrumentation and vocalization on this album.
This album is so calm that it put me to sleep on a flight between Chicago and Oakland and I am a notoriously bad flyer. I like this album but I’m not going to sugarcoat it: You can’t actively listen to this album. It is almost strictly background music. I’ve given it seven spins in places ranging from the office, to the car, and even on the plane, and have no idea what any of the lyrics are and I don’t think I will short of sitting in a very quiet room and listening with headphones. Being so minimal it borders on impressionistic makes this a Great chill out album but potentially boring if you are going for engaging and active.
The band’s official website, which does have lyrics available on it: http://thexx.info/
-Cory Funk, The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… – Thursdays 5-6pm