The xx will be releasing their sophomore album, Co-Exist, on September 10 2012. Coming out under the Young Turks label, rumour has it the record is in its final mixing stages. During a string of shows in London last month, they tried out five new tracks that were warmly received by audiences. The songs are titled “Devotion”, “Leave”, “Closer”, “Strangers” and “Fiction”. Listen to them here.
Band members include Oliver Sim and Romy Madley-Croft, who began as a duo when they were only 15 years old and Jamie Smith, who joined later on. Guitarist Baria Qureshi became a member in the mid-2000s when the xx started performing, but left the band in 2009.
Along with the planned release, the xx are embarking on an ambitious tour this summer performing festivals and single shows in Sweden, Norway, France, Belgium, Japan, Poland, Finland, Hungary, Austria, the Netherlands, Ireland, the UK, Australia, the US and Canada. Looks like they’re planning to bring on a worldwide legacy – and happily so. Their smooth, heart-centred, 80s-influenced space pop is just what the earth needs right now!
Fans everywhere have been sitting on their hands in anticipation of novel material by the xx. 2009’s self-titled debut was highly acclaimed for its austere, thoughtful, impressionistic approach to pop. People marvelled that a set of 20-year-olds could produce such a masterpiece. Not only was the musicality of the album touted as advanced and effective in its simple complexity, but the tone of the trio’s lyrical journey was mature as well. It received accolades like the Mercury Prize, the achievement of “Universal Acclaim” on Metacritic, and the position of ninth in Rolling Stone’s “best of the year” list and second in NME’s. Several tracks were used as background music in television, film and media.
The five new tracks from Co-Exist – live recordings that give only a noisy, but very tempting, hint of the release to come –rise up with a climactic energy, befitting of a sophomore album. Driving forward their slow, spare sound with beautiful, catchy melodies and new instrumental elements – bells and hollow percussions – the xx has ridden the wave of early success with clever style. While it’s a rhythmic, clubby theme running throughout this album, the lyrical emphasis remains on love, intimacy and relationship.
There’s an upbeat quality to these songs that lends itself nicely as a sequel to the whispery, low feeling of their debut, much of which was recorded at night. So far, Co-Exist feels like a daytime album. Some of the new tracks delve into house beats, complemented by the easy rhythmic guitar slants and Madley-Croft’s smoky lyrics.
From these little tidbits, it’s clear that the xx will be content to hang onto their success, at the same time as developing and maturing their sound. The sneak tracks make you crave the upcoming crystal-clear release, unaffected by the noise of crowds in large rooms. Imagine what that bass, those synths, those haunting hooks will sound like pumped up on the stereo – new, warm, strong and intelligent.
Hopefully the band will be able to drum up energy for another tour next fall. After Co-Exist comes out in September, their worldwide conglomerate of fans will want to see more of the xx. That’s for certain.