The British indie pop band, The xx has officially announced a release date for their hinted-at new album, Coexist. The album will be out September 11 in the US (September 10 internationally) through Young Turks.
September is a long ways away, but at this rate, we shouldn’t have to wait that long to hear their new music. The trio has already been playing at least six new songs, presumably all from the forthcoming album.
I was a huge fan of the band’s 2009 debut, xx, which topped many charts in the US and Britain. Romy Croft and Jamie Smith‘s soothing vocals were perfect layered over smooth synthesized guitars, singing about love and desire. The first album spoke more about this desire, craving, and fantasizing about another person than actual time spent with them. In my favorite song on the album, “Stars”, Smith and Croft duet about a disappointing first encounter with this special person, concluding optimistically that “it’s fine by me, we can give it time.” The beautiful album was well-written and musically interesting.
Where the first album was about the thoughts and desires before or at the very beginning of a relationship, The xx’s new material seems to be more about the aftermath. The five songs that the band has been playing regularly, which you can listen to here, and the demo that they posted through their label all take place within a relationship- with Jamie and Romy singing about actively being with someone they care about.
The first new song that they played, which has gone by “As I Am” and “Devotion” asserts the line “they will be as in love with you as I am”- an emotion that was not explicitly expressed at length on the first album. The demo, “Open Eyes” continues this expression of deep love by repeating “with you by my side, everything will be alright.” The song is slow and subdued, with only a few notes on a guitar plucked in the background and what sounds like rain falling in the distance. The sleepy contentment and deep calm are emotions not found as readily on the previous album. The songs seem to be follow ups- a check-in on the relationships that were beginning on xx.
I’m used to The xx talking about doing anything to be with someone, and giving everything for them, so I was pleasantly surprised when I heard the four other new songs. There seems to be trouble in paradise as Croft tells someone to leave her and her lover alone on “Leave”- someone causing the conflict that occurs in the other songs. “Closer” has Croft wondering what caused such distance between her and her lover, and finally, in my personal favorite, “Stranger” (which is essentially a prequel to Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”) a break has happened.
It’s great to see The xx maturing and writing about both the positives and negatives of love and desire. Their sound is as sensual as ever on these new tracks, and I have only excitement for the new album.
Listen to the demo, “Open Eyes” below: