27. The xx, coexist
Label: Young Turks
Released: September 5
Following up their debut album must have been an intimidating task for The xx. They came out of the gates as one of the most critically appreciated indie acts, and in one album they so effortlessly established a trademark sound of deadpan, minimalist, metallic style that flirted with this unique dynamic of the boy-girl vocal formula and a blend of organic and electronic elements. Whether they stuck to the script or switched it up, it seemed like their sophomore album couldn't possibly live up to the expectations inflated by their first. But it did.
Coexist doesn't stray far from the overall vibe that we got from the debut, but it's smarter, more mature, and Jamie xx's growth as a producer gives this project an electronic subtlety that was lacking previously. This album was far from a let-down, and the best thing about it may be that although it's not as immediate as their first, it gets better with each listen. -JM