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The XX

Coexist (Young Turks)

Reviewed by Luke Winkie, Fri., Oct. 26, 2012

Phases & Stages

The XX

Coexist (Young Turks)

Like 11 beautifully silent machines working in perfect harmony, the XX's eponymous 2009 debut became irreplaceable. Londoners Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim, and Jamie Smith fused together the perfect number of notes and turned them into a modern classic of illusive singularity. Coexist doesn't have an enviable position as The Next Statement, but it's armed with the same effective weaponry. Croft's guitar still points down, plucked in skeletal fragments alongside the steadfast pulses of Smith's not-so-bloodless electronics. "You felt like you really knew me, now it feels like you see through me," whispers Sim at the end of "Sunset." The three years between discs haven't made him any less fragile. Hard to imagine that the XX could construct a quieter album than the first, but that's what Coexist manages. The first-time poetry of the debut will always be more earthshaking, but the softer, silkier, and more tender Coexist proves the trio can be just as memorable in repeat doses.

***.5

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