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Analogs: The xx – Coexist

By ; September 11, 2012 at 1:11 PM 

In Analogs, we’ll be taking a look at two records that share some interesting parallels to an album out that week. Whether it be an album from 50 years back that bears some quiet influence, or an under-appreciated record from last week, if you like the record in question, you’re sure to like its Analogs.

This week we’re looking at analogs to Coexist by The xx, but make sure to check out our full review.


Young Marble Giants – Colossal Youth

Though diametrically opposed to Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim’s wispy romanticisms in execution, Young Marble Giants sole LP functions perhaps a more salient comparison than any other album we’ve featured to date. Like Coexist (and xx before it), on Colossal Youth the Cardiff-based trio explores minimal instrumentation and use of space in similar ways, but the final result is miles from The xx’s cavernous holes of silence. Like Coexist, Colossal Youth allows its songs to sit bare, but where Madley-Crofts guitar lines would float just a bit above the tunes, guitar here is the marrow. It’s compositionally no more intense, but these are tunes with more of a backbone and consequently more of a pop shifted focus. If The xx take pop tunes and stretch them to create their breaks and silences, Young Marble Giants chop those same tunes up and insert their own spaces. Though no album still truly lines up with the corner The xx have pinned themselves in, Colossal Youth provides some insight into the creative process and mindset that spawned an entirely distinct (if ideologically similar) record.
–Colin Joyce


Holy Other – With U

Holy Other and The xx share a common overt influence–especially on Coexist–in UK garage loner, Burial. On Coexist, Jamie xx’s production rattles with a sparse take on the chainlink hi-hats, woodblock snares, and heavily-exhaled late night air of the London producer; not to mention abstracted takes on R&B. But where Burial seems a force for isolated treks through empty cityscapes, The xx and Holy Other focus their attentions on more romantic, insular settings and subject matter. The xx named their record Coexist after all. Holy Other’s With U is a five track EP that provides a lush mixture of introverted house, garage, and ambient, wordless, aching love songs for hushed bedroom conversations and the sleepy tangle of two bodies. Holy Other’s recently released full-length debut, Held, even shares a similarly constructed falling-in-and-out-of-love arc as Coexist. In many ways, with their sophomore record The xx have become more of a UK electronic outfit than a pop group, but the focus is still the constant perspective shifts of Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim’s sparring-lovers vocals and lyrics. If you’re interested in hearing what similar subject-matter might sound like in the form of highly emotive beats, check out With U.
Will Ryan

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