September 10th, 2012 1:00am
Like Breathing Was Easy
The xx broke big because people connected with their sexy minimalism, so in their own way, opting to go softer and more intimate on their second record is the equivalent of a rock band aiming for something bigger and louder. Coexist sounds like what you expect from the xx, but even more so. I imagine a lot of people will be thrilled with this, but I have mixed feelings about this record. While a few of the songs have melodies and motifs strong enough to be presented with almost no accompaniment, a good chunk of the record is lacking in dynamics, so large portions of the album just sound like some codependent couple murmuring at one another in the middle of the night. It can be so airy that there’s no implication of physical contact, so the types of duets that seemed almost lurid on the debut are charged with a less compelling sort of tension.
“Angels,” the opening track and first single, is my favorite, and it’s mostly because Romy Madley-Croft’s vocal part is so gorgeous and emotionally potent that anything other than a barely-there arrangement would’ve been overkill. While other songs on Coexist sound like the arrangement style was a foregone conclusion, this is an example of a song being perfect for their approach regardless of whether or not they’re the performers.
Buy it from Amazon.