How do you improve on perfection? That was the problem facing The XX after their 2009 self-titled debut album. An LP that flawlessly realised their spatially aware minimal sound, and through tracks like VCR, captured shyness in a way that no record before or since really managed. With their second album, Coexist, the London trio took the only option realistically viable for them to try, refinement. The trouble is, with an already lean sound, fat to trim is hard to find. The results were mixed, succeeding in trimming their sound to the bare-essentials, but failing to deliver songs with the motional punch of it’s predecessor. ‘Chained,’ is the exception to the generalisation, it’s a romantically charged duet which eschews shyness for confessional pillow talk. A direction that could offer the band a second great album if they take a leaf out of Gareth Campesinos book and are bolder with the pen.
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