It is difficult to know exactly where to start with this album. There is a sense that this follow up to their brilliant debut album, that Coexist is essentially The XX Part 2 - it's not a radical departure from the mellow stripped down beats-and-guitar formula which appealed to so many.
There is also a sense that much of this album is stuck in the same gear. While the debut featured subtle shifts in mood and tempo, it is somewhat lacking on Coexist. Openers Angel and Chained
were very bland.
Things improve alot with Fiction which features arguably Oliver Sim s strongest vocal to date - hear the gut-wrenching catharsis at 1.44.
The rest of the album is as inconsistent as the opening three tracks - there are moments of brilliance throughout these 11 tracks, but for every good track there is a rather unwanted punctuation from the likes of Try and Unfold which spoils things.
Swept Away is absolutely stunning and is very much like a cross between 'Stars' from their debut and their stripped down medley of ATBs 9am Til I Come which made it into their live sets in the summer of 2010. Probably the best thing The XX have ever recorded so far in their young career.
Elsewhere the moody beats of Sunset, lovelorn Tides and steel-drum-backed Reunion all standout as the album's strongest tracks.
Overall there is undoubtedly some great stuff on this album, but they are disappointingly fleeting as the band play it far too safe on this record and fail to make use of Jamie Smith s undoubted creative nous.