Listening to The xx‘s self-titled debut album for the first time is an undeniably memorable experience. Since it’s release in 2009, the hauntingly spare and intimate LP has more than likely soundtracked the loss of hundreds of indie virginities and conceptions. Romy Madley Croft’s sultry whisper hangs in the thick sensual atmosphere created by London producer/beatsmith Jamie xx, often dueling with Oliver Sim’s confident vocals and hollow guitars.
The music creates an almost unbearable sexual tension that has been unmatched by any band in recent memory.
The commercial and critical success of the first record allowed the band a seemingly painful amount of time to carefully craft their follow-up album Coexist, out September 11th in the US. Rumors of a bouncier, more dance-oriented, sophomore set swirled as Jamie xx released his remix album with Gil Scott Heron We’re New Here and the tropical steel drum-influenced one-off single ”Far Nearer.” It wasn’t until a few months ago that fans were treated to new xx material during a string of live shows ultimately culminating with the album announcement and a hypnotic performance at Primavera Sound.
A top YouTube comment on one of the new songs debuted live sums things up best: “Can I get pregnant from this?”
“Angels” is the album opener and first single from Coexist and it doesn’t stray far from the band’s signature sound. “You move through the room, like breathing was easy,” Croft sings, taking the role of a narrator transfixed on her partner, sharing the feeling of intimacy familiar only to deeply bound lovers. The main guitar line is accompanied by a softer, sliding backup guitar that pairs perfectly with the subtle, almost watery, bass. The brooding percussion that sneaks in halfway through the track creates an ominous unsettling feeling, leaving the listener to wonder what The xx have up their sleeves (or panties) for the rest of the album.