Music Review: The xx whispers on new album 'Coexist'

The xx, "Coexist" (Young Turks)

It's been three years since The xx's last album. The wait was worth it.

"Coexist" is note perfect. The South London trio has moved away from the slightly poppy direction of its Mercury Prize-winning self-titled debut in favor of a more stripped-down approach. The album is in parts so spare you wonder what makes it so spine-tinglingly beautiful.

The opening track "Angels," which the band teased fans with before the album's release, almost whispers but sets the tone of the album as it builds in depth. "Sunset" introduces the vocals of Oliver Sim, allowing an intoxicating synergy between his voice and Romy Madley Croft's.

The lyrics are still acutely melancholic. "We used to get closer than this/Is it something you miss?" Croft muses in "Chained," which is reminiscent of the constant questioning the group displayed on its debut record.

And in "Missing," Croft muses, "Are we all we could be?" The answer is a resounding yes.

CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: "Fiction" shows the vocal range of Sim and lyrically explores the relationship between fiction and reality.

Online:

Stream the album at http://coexist.thexx.info/

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