The XX | Coexist | Rating: 8.25/11 | Reviewed by: Joshua Hammond |
There are times when the weight of one’s brilliance ends up resulting in more paper cuts than certificates hanging on the fridge. Once the spotlight is plugged in and the shadows of genius are exaggerated the expansion of what lies within it is significantly large. At time, situations that would normally seem fine in light are scrutinized harshly for their inability to be seen from all angles.
Take for example “Angels,” the track which kicks open the door on The XX’s newest release Coexist. Neck deep in and surviving on a beautiful combination of heartbreak and raw honesty, “Angels” leaves the remainder of the album seemingly below the watermark gasping for air. The song flawlessly captures the band’s signature simplicity, weeding and trimming away the collective clutter that fuels and drives the industry today. Unique as this, The XX find themselves on the cliff of musical judgment with mobs of confused “critics” waving torches and pitchforks (no pun intended). Being original and free of smoke and mirrors, the band has left themselves exposed to harsh opinions and blind rioting. However, the perception thatCoexist leaves its listeners wanting is much more of a fallacy as can be found in music folklore. Broken down track by track the album is laced with well rounded, smoothly polished dance-friendly slow grinds for the ecstasy generation. The proof is in the mix. “Chains” follows the lead of “Angels,” providing a Johnny and June Carter conversation in which Craft ponders her role in the relationship. She finds herself questioning if she’s smothered her partner, stating “Did I hold you too tight? Did I not let enough light in?” Her honesty and vulnerability resonates through the first two songs in a manner that cannot be faked and should not be taught. It is this raw exposure and public display of bruising and heartache that makes The XX so comforting.
Think glow sticks meets cardigans and skinny jeans.
However, despite the indie-rave dancehall sound Coexist is actually at its best through headphones. The atmospheric electronic drum clicks and haunting synthesizer aura swirl around the listeners dome, creating a space odyssey meets vertigo setting. Given a fair spin this album exceeds expectations and provides a quality follow up to the band’s 2009 debut. Sadly however, until fans, critics and the world in general stop expecting The XX to be the hipster version of The Beatles, they will always fall short of the unrealistic standards. However, here in the civilized world Coexist is worth every dime you’ve saved.