Minimal pop in ‘Coexist’

Andrew Fernandez, Staff Writer

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Three years after their popular and critically acclaimed self-tilted LP, the XX (stylized as “xx”) release their sophomore album “Coexist”. Formed in London in 2008, the group emerged in the music scene with a splash and rode on the wave of success after the debut of their first album, titled “XX” in 2009. The minimalist pop style with catchy R&B beats captured new audiences with their unique sound in an era of loud convoluted electronic and pop music. World tours and performances ensued including the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts.

The album title, “Coexist”, suits the gentle and calming moods echoed in each track. The first two tracks, “Angels” and “Chained”, have already been released as singles and can be heard on YouTube. They give a sample of the album and show a step in the same direction from their first album. Deep rhythm and bass with minimal sound tag alongside the soothing vocals and harmonies of Oliver Sim and Romy Croft.

In “Angels”, Romy Croft sings a minimalist love song, keeping it simple with a touch of guitar, drums, and bass and ending with her voice singing “love, love, love”. “Chained” includes a minor drum and bass beat, electronic hues following the track with the duo singing “we use to get closer than this, is it something you miss?” and a short catchy guitar solo before ending.

The xx retain their unique sound throughout the album touching each track with a simple intricacy and showing that less can be more. “Coexist” includes less upbeat tracks than “XX” and more down tempo sounds, which relax and ease the mood. They never stray too far from their original LP sound but there could have never been any need to considering the popularity of it.

“Reunion” and “Sunset” are two of the tracks along with “Chained” that are reminiscent of the more catchy beats heard on “XX”. The tracks resonate an intimate relationship between two lovers now lost, with lyrics such as “Did I see you, see me, in a new light? Never not ever again”, in “Reunion” and “after all that we had, we act live we had never met” in “Sunset”. The saddening lyrics cast a dark light but are overshadowed with the soft voices and beats in each track that convey an easing mood.

“Coexist” is a little less catchy and charming than their first self-titled album, but is still definitely worth a listen for those looking for smooth R&B with a slight pop touch to it. “Coexist” is available now through Young Turk Records.

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Minimal pop in ‘Coexist’