The xx Seduce On "Coexist"
They begin on a solid note with their single, “Angels,” a song that sets the tone for the whispering and hushed melody of vocals between Oliver Sim and Romy Madley-Croft.
The haunting notes in the background add to the subdued singing with a slow, steady percussive beat filling the gaps. While the lyrics repeat “Being as in love with you as I am,” these words only enforce the seductive and tempting sound for which The xx have become famous.
On a side note, The xx released “Angels” to one super fan as an experimental publicity stunt days before the album release. Of course, the song quickly spread and was streamed so much as to crash the fan's website shortly after the release, which hearkened back to The xx’s previous success of their song “Crystalised” along with other songs from their previous album.
The following song, “Chained,” plays upon the harmonious vocals creating a dialogue between each other and then coming together to sing a melody. This song talks of a relationship drifting apart because of perhaps too much closeness. Running along the lines of relationships and love, the song “Fiction” continues the fragile tonalities.
“Try” deals with giving love a second try as Romy sings “I needed you there,” and brings the listener to pain of wanting to give it another attempt while being afraid of the pain and suffering again.
Mixing it up a bit, “Reunion” uses steel drums and slow but steady beats to drive the song forward into an experimental dance space, which could be remixed to a dance-floor hit like the song “Crystalised.”
Turning the beat up, “Sunset” plays around with the use of house-rhythms and pauses of silence. As a continuation of the love theme, the songs talks of a cat-and-mouse game turned to friends only, almost like strangers with no reminiscent of a previous love.
Similarly, “Missing” sings of a love relationship of the past that is no more, but plays more with the use of silence. The middle of the song has a long pause, which goes nicely to break up the whispering music.
A hint of the song “Angels” with the repeating background melody shows up again; the song “Tides” sways forward and back to the consistent harmonious duet of Romy and Oliver. And continuing with the pattern of tormented love, “Unfold” drives the aching but sexy harmonious voices asking for each other’s love with the lyrics, “the feeling goes on and on and on.”
Mimicking the house beat of the song “Reunion,” the next track “Swept Away” uses an upbeat tempo mixed with a subtle clapping sound to bring a positive spin to the seemingly negative songs in the rest of the album.
Closing up the album, “Our Song” wraps up the sequence of songs leading through what seems like a confusing and hurting relationship. Oliver and Romy sing the words “You know I know you’re hurt. I want to mend your heart” in unison to create an entrancing and engulfing subdued sound that sums up love as a work-in-progress.
The xx have not introduced a new sound with their latest album "Coexist" but have only refined their minimalistic approach with unadorned chord progressions and hints of silence.
The phrase “less is more” is proven in this album with The xx sticking and enhancing what they’ve had success with, haunting but sexy vocal duets and subtle guitar and piano melodies.
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