On 4th July, the XX filmed an intimate version of ‘Angels’, the lead single of their recently completed second album ‘Coexist’ in a Tokyo hotel room. Even more stark and beautiful than on record, Romy Madley-Croft’s fragile and affecting vocal coupled with a reverberating Les Paul encapsulated the finest melodies from the last album whilst a new air of confidence and musicianship really shined through. Both Bass player Oliver Sim and percussionist/producer Jamie XX watched in silent awe as she soulfully whispered over a swelling riff.
The dance elements of The XX have taken over this time around on Coexist, but never losing those sweet, haunting melodies that made us cherish The XX so much the first time around.
‘Fiction’ starts with a fusion of a surf style guitar slide and busy palm muted dance pips. Oliver Sim’s voice too has become more brooding and stylish, still barely above a whisper but when a few prominent lines are sang in a chorus an octave higher than usual and a little more powerfully, a sense of emotion and meaning is conveyed powerfully.
‘Chained’, much like Fiction is uptempo but with the combined duet vocals that work so well with their debut but upping their game with more interesting sounds and an addictive vocal melody.
Reunion is however the gem in this album, utilizing steel drums and Jamie XX twinkles to convey the romanticism in this punchy yet dreamy number.
Coexist has kept the fantastic vocal duets and sweeping reverberations, but the elements of hip-hop and dance production have come far to create more three dimensional soundscapes packed into concise modern tunes that will sound as powerful and emotional in a festival dance tent as they would whispering through your speakers late at night.