The xx is OK with the seams of their music showing. On "Coexist" (Young Turks), the follow-up to their 2009 breakthrough debut, the synthesized background is so spare that there are rarely more than two layers of electronic music behind the hushed vocals of Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim, including the percussion track. It's a testament to the strength of the melodies of "Angels" or "Chained," as well as Croft and Sim's delivery and Jamie xx's arranging and producing skills, that the songs remain so gripping. "Coexist" is never in-your-face, but worms its way into your consciousness nevertheless, a subtle and stylish triumph.
BOTTOM LINE Spare, yet sparkling, icy electronic beauty