Incredibly, it has been nearly 3 years since The xx released their debut album, xx, to universal acclaim; with the band set to release the difficult second album, Coexist, in early September, the band have given us a taster of whats to come with single ‘Angels’.
The track – the first to be released from the forthcoming album – is trademark xx; echoey layers of synth guitar play behind Romy Madley Croft’s whispery vocals; “being as in love with you as I am” she utters.
Yet, somehow the track feels like its missing something; the songs from xx were sparse, but somehow managed to deliver a sense of warmth and seductiveness. In comparison, Angels feels as cold and empty as a wintery morning in the Canadian wilderness. Indeed, fans expecting a big musical change – either with the club-music inspiration (as promised by Jamie xx) or a continuation of the post-dubstep sound employed in his successful Gil-Scott Heron collaboration – will be disappointed.
Instead, around one minute in, a foreboding beat of percussion emerges out of the darkness and takes subtle control of the song before disappearing. A teaser of a new musical direction, but nothing more.
‘Angels’ is neither new or special; it is a grower though and the release of their album remains eagerly anticipated.