The xx return next week with Coexist, their ridiculously anticipated follow-up to 2009’s Mercury Prize-winning debut LP xx. We’ve previously heard the rather gorgeous opening tracks ‘Angels‘ and ‘Chained‘, and you can now stream the album in its entirety. On first listen, the album very much delivers the trio’s signature minimalist sound — spare arrangements with simmering vocal exchanges between Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim which quietly tease a cathartic payoff that never comes — and whether or not that will be enough for fans and critics alike remains to be seen. Certainly this is a good album, but initially it feels a little disappointing — especially following producer Jamie XX’s exciting sonic adventures of late — that the group haven’t evolved their sound much over the past three years, or risked releasing something a bit more ambitious. No doubt this record will be a grower and I need to give it more listens before I come to any definite conclusion, but my inkling is that The xx have merely crafted a shinier, better-produced and perhaps overly safe sequel rather than something fresh and new.
Coexist is out September 11. Stream it below (via NPR).