The xx know how to break your heart.
And they only need a pair of headphones to do it, too
And by 2012, Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith had transformed from teenaged unknowns in a London basement to alternative electropop rock stars, ready to play heartbreaker again.
With Coexist, the xx continue their musing on pains of insecurity and awkwardness in face of an ex, taking the impulses from the second half of xx and running with them.
For sure, this means Coexist can be interpreted as xx-lite. But that’d deny the impact of where Coexist actually goes.
Rather, Coexist takes one look at the hookiness of xx and says “screw that.”
Cut likes “Fiction,” “Tides,” and “Swept Away” emphasize atmosphere—notes echo like raindrops in a cavernous alleyway, while Croft and Sim’s vocals are distant. Singing as if trapped in their subconscious.
Meanwhile, “Angels” is Croft’s love song to someone who doesn’t love her anymore.
What was that about breaking hearts again?
Well buckle-up because the first half is just build up to this roller-coaster. On “Sunset,” the xx play the closest thing they have to a guitar hook backed by a thumping heartbeat.
Croft and Sim dismantle their hearts piece-by-piece, lyric-by-lyric, playing ex-lovers trying to feign ignorance but failing to even do so.
No other album has helped me through break-ups like Coexist because the xx understand and articulate that pain like no other.
The only sin the xx commit on this album is, sadly, some indulgence. Cuts can linger, removing momentum.
However, from experience, this does make Coexist a lovely album for falling asleep to.
Nonetheless, it’s because the xx are confident in being so vulnerable to themselves and their listeners that they are so indulgent.
Coexist is indulgent, Coexist is honest and Coexist is tragic.