The xx - "Coexist"

If you’re a fan of the Block Party (weeknights from 8pm-12am EST) on 91.3fm, each month we feature one of the artists featured on the Block Party as an Album of the Month with a New or Renewing Membership to WYEP. The Block Party Featured Album is available in CD format for a $60 donation to WYEP or on vinyl for your gift of $75.

October's Block Party Featured Album of the Month is Coexist by The xx. Become a WYEP Member at wyep.org and grab a copy as your thank you gift this month.

Some art is about what's not there. For Coexist, The xx have recollections of endings, second-guesses, and regrets for what's gone. Those things have been mined and polished on their second full-length album by guitarist Romy Madley-Croft and bassist Oliver Sim as they use a square-ish and subtly plaintive vocal style throughout. The lyrics are presented less as an excuse to wallow in emotion than as a portal to a detailed and yet unresolved experience. You may not remember a better-than-average sixth date, but you will never forget what was playing on the radio when you first got dumped, what the weather was like the last time you opened your front door for someone, or the months and months spent reconstructing history to try to find a clue for what went wrong. The album approximates experience of romantic loss with frightening precision. The lost is not lost in second album from London trio The xx.

Producer Jamie xx's work outside the band with Adele, Drake, Eliza Doolittle and Gil Scott-Heron represent a progression in modern urban music. That growth is also present on Coexist, as the rhythms and melodies add a depth of color and solid structure to the stories. The album is rich in distorted beats, sampled acoustic strings and live electric strings, and tags of Echo and Delay. The club inspiration is most apparent on songs like "Swept Away" and "Chained," and the snappiness of 2009's "Heart Skipped a Beat" has morphed into lurching, persistent tap of the foot on "Fiction." That's not to say The xx have completely ditched the sound they've made their name on. There's still a sparse, brittle quality to Coexist that feels oddly satisfying. The music is deep without being too dense. The breaks in beat and melody call to mind not the sound of silence, but rather than the gaps in a telephone conversation. That is what this album is - a long conversation on a late night. Although it may not finish with a resolution, it's still sometimes nice to know there's someone on the other end.

-Review by Dave Hutchinson, Host of the Overnight Freefrom Fridays