Coexist

  • Record Label: XL
  • Release Date: Sep 11, 2012
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 46 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 46
  2. Negative: 0 out of 46
  1. The world adored the xx's Mercury Prize-winning debut album xx. Coexist is, if anything, an even finer piece of work.
  2. Sep 5, 2012
    100
    The xx lay out all of their pieces beautifully. There are no extraneous parts. Not a second that they didn't intend. As a result, songs like 'Tides' or 'Chained' unfold as naturally as a ripple of wind.
  3. They add up to a song cycle with a happy ending--the joy of which may grow in wisdom or crumble back toward nothingness tomorrow.
  4. Sep 11, 2012
    91
    Coexist presents a version of The xx that listeners will recognize, but cleans everything up a bit, subtly stretching and improving the formula that won acclaim.
  5. Overall, The xx have created an album that is just as interesting, attractive and sexy as it could possibly be.
  6. Uncut
    Sep 14, 2012
    90
    Coexist is a masterpiece. [Oct 2012, p.80]
  7. Sep 28, 2012
    88
    The melodies aren't quite as immediate as the best songs from the debut, but Coexist functions as a near-perfect mood piece.
  8. Sep 6, 2012
    85
    It's a collective of conjoined poems, meticulously attuned to shake both the earth and eardrums alike.
  9. Sep 7, 2012
    83
    This album is one that begs to be lived with for a long period of time, its quiet details given ample room to germinate.
  10. 83
    It's exciting to hear the minimalist U.K. trio approach their new-crush odes with such austerity in Coexist.
  11. The end result is a quieted, more suppressed record that steps delicately from one note to the next and shines even more of a spotlight on the twin vocal sentiments of longing and crumbled romance.
  12. Oct 22, 2012
    80
    While album three may require a reboot from The XX, that's for another day. Right now, when it comes to fusing indie rock and dance, no one pulls it off quite as elegantly.
  13. Sep 24, 2012
    80
    Overall, it's a successful return, and a record that demonstrates the success of their debut wasn't a fluke and that The xx truly are masters of musical alchemy.
  14. Mojo
    Sep 19, 2012
    80
    If letting the world in has resulted in an album this beguiling, there's nothing to fear. [Oct 2012, p.80]
  15. Sep 14, 2012
    80
    Coexist's exploration of isolation and intimacy is demanding and rewarding in its bold subtlety and eloquent simplicity.
  16. 80
    It hides more than xx did, sneaking its miserable joys behind bare spaces, surprise time signatures and subtle dramas. But listen after listen it reveals just as many treasures beneath its layers of shimmering sadness.
  17. Sep 10, 2012
    80
    What makes this music special is what Smith does with all that stylized sparseness, transforming it into something alive and dynamic instead of merely sleepy.
  18. 80
    Coexist surges forward and retreats within itself more than its predecessor but still never breaks the surface, existing in the liminal space between a song and a thought.
  19. Sep 10, 2012
    80
    Coexist is yet another masterpiece of lush asceticism.
  20. 80
    Coexist may not sound as dramatically original as their debut but it is every bit as other-worldly, like eavesdropping on intimate conversations between forlorn lovers on a space station orbiting around a distant planet.
  21. Sep 7, 2012
    80
    'Coexist' is a refinement and crystallisation of their debut.
  22. Sep 6, 2012
    80
    Its low frequencies, irregular rhythms and slow-burning dance beats creep into the songs and draw us in deeper.
  23. Sep 5, 2012
    80
    With a signature sound established at the first time of asking, The xx's challenge was to both expand their palette and satisfy the demands of a huge audience. And through refinement rather than reinvention, they've succeeded in singular style.
  24. Sep 5, 2012
    80
    The familiar sparse, shrugging guitar touches return, sounding no less beguiling than they did three years ago, but the craft has improved. Where 'xx' traded on a certain naïve charm, 'Coexist' is a meticulously controlled aural environment.
  25. Sep 5, 2012
    80
    As gripping as the album is all the way through-it seems to chart an on/off relationship even more directly than their eponymous album did-its best moment is actually its first. Opener "Angels" is one of the meekest xx tracks, but it's easily among their most powerful.
  26. Oct 25, 2012
    78
    Hard to imagine that the XX could construct a quieter album than the first, but that's what Coexist manages. The first-time poetry of the debut will always be more earthshaking, but the softer, silkier, and more tender Coexist proves the trio can be just as memorable in repeat doses.
  27. Sep 10, 2012
    75
    The most appealing thing about this record is that this band, having created a brilliant and moving sound, returns to it again for another 38 minutes.
  28. 75
    At a certain point, the xx need to turn off that reverb pedal and learn to sing above a whisper - but I'll be damned if they haven't worked their magic again.
  29. Sep 12, 2012
    74
    The xx has refined its sound, creating an even sparser atmosphere. But there is strength in this minimalism.
  30. Sep 17, 2012
    70
    There's enough ingenuity on Coexist to remind us why the xx was a game-changer three years ago; with any luck it will end up a blip on a resume of more inspiring releases.
  31. Sep 14, 2012
    70
    Coexist is far from a bad effort. Gentle sophisticates that the XX are, however, it's hardly surprising that the cutting edge got a little too sharp.
  32. Sep 11, 2012
    70
    Coexist will not surprise old fans. The xx haven't altered their sound, they've refined it, adding a splash of arena-rock guitar here, a clubby 4/4 thump there.
  33. Sep 10, 2012
    70
    This album certainly sounds more produced, but the band's investment in studio time mostly means sighing washes of prismatic reverb rather than a new architecture of synths and drums. Still, many of the album's best moments are its most... well, not beat-driven, but beat-bedazzled.
  34. Sep 10, 2012
    70
    A wonderful experiment in the power of absence.
  35. 70
    Neither spectacular or deflating, Coexist is simply the sound of the xx, more or less just as we left it: minimalist, intuitive, romantic and enchanting. Consequently it's a good album, for exactly the same qualities that made their debut likewise.
  36. Sep 5, 2012
    70
    The largest problem with Coexist is something shared with the debut. A lot of it just washes over you without leaving a trace. It's always high quality, assembled with a craftsman's eye for gorgeously unfussy detail, but it can leave you unengaged. It's soporific, far from unpleasantly, but in a way that means you can come out the other side unmoved.
  37. Sep 17, 2012
    63
    Rather than exerting an effort to advance a conversation or craft unique circumstances in which to present notions on love, most of the lyrics on Coexist are one-dimensional planes floating through the group's oft-glorious 3-D spaces.
  38. Sep 14, 2012
    60
    While the xx allowed itself to get mildly playful on its debut album, those moments are stripped out on Coexist as the band further minimizes its already minimalist approach.
  39. Sep 11, 2012
    60
    It's hard not to feel that one of the year's most anticipated releases only keeps you waiting and waiting for something more to happen.
  40. 60
    Deceptively uneasy listening at times, but worth the effort.
  41. Q Magazine
    Sep 6, 2012
    60
    The mood of their music often feels a little stuck, though. [Oct 2012, p.100]
  42. Sep 5, 2012
    60
    Of the album's few standout tracks, only "Fiction" comes close to eclipsing the half-dozen or so uptempo gems that populated the band's debut. What's left is a collection of richly crafted but idling songs in desperate need of some muscle.
  43. Sep 5, 2012
    60
    They perfect the formula occasionally - penultimate track 'Swept Away' matches its name, a pillow-soft cascade of plummy bass notes and piano house, across which their voices whisper like wind - but for much of Coexist they sound halting, nervous, afraid to push beyond the boundaries they've created around their sound.
  44. Sep 6, 2012
    50
    The end result is a record that feels phoned in. [Aug/Sep 2012, p.114]
  45. Sep 12, 2012
    40
    Where xx was an album that got its hooks in you, Coexist becomes a somnolent atmosphere-in-itself, in which hooks are conspicuous by their absence. It all works best when the tempo rises (relatively speaking), as on "Tides" and "Swept Away;" still, the pulse races placidly.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 158 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 25
  2. Negative: 4 out of 25
  1. Sep 11, 2012
    10
    In the end, Coexist is a love letter, simple, honest and beautiful. "Missing", the album's finest track, you hear Oliver more passionate thatIn the end, Coexist is a love letter, simple, honest and beautiful. "Missing", the album's finest track, you hear Oliver more passionate that ever, the emotion in his voice is truly captivating. Full Review »
  2. Sep 17, 2012
    5
    The xx delivered a remarkable album, full of delightful songs with an unique sound, in 2009.
    Coexist is still enjoyable, but it feels too
    The xx delivered a remarkable album, full of delightful songs with an unique sound, in 2009.
    Coexist is still enjoyable, but it feels too uninspired and empty, with an excess of reused ideas.
    Full Review »
  3. Oct 3, 2012
    3
    Well this album would be perfect for people going through depression or a break up. There is nothing in this album, unlike The xx's first one,Well this album would be perfect for people going through depression or a break up. There is nothing in this album, unlike The xx's first one, that makes you feel warm or happy. Not that an album needs to be always happy and cheerful - this new one is extremely boring. They're talented musicians and the sound is good, but the album is sad, lonely and repetitive. It sounded to me, on first listen, that it was all about "Don't leave me" and I though that track would never end - it didn't it was the whole album. Full Review »