It’s been nearly three years since the xx released their now modern-classic debut, and since then, they’ve lost a member, played essentially every festival on Earth, won the Mercury Music Prize, and producer Jamie xx has made his name as one of the most forward-thinking producers in electronic music. To say that the anticipation for their return is high is an understatement. Ahead of the September 11th release of their sophomore album, Coexist, the trio are certainly aware of this, and perhaps appropriately, they’ve adapted by changing everything familiar about themselves. When they first returned to a live setting in May, reports from the shows noted both a stylistic shift in the new material and bold reinventions of their older songs. The new material has been described by both fans and the band themselves as “club-influenced”, which isn’t a descriptor that even the boldest music critic would use to describe the intimate confessions of their debut, and the older material has been reworked in order to highlight the tension in songs like “Basic Space” and “Shelter”. To date, the band has only released one song from Coexist, the sparse and delicate “Angels”, but seemingly contrary to all of the advance reports, the song sounds more akin to something off their debut than something you’d hear at a club. Then again, maybe that’s exactly what they were going for, saving the surprises for those lucky enough to experience them live.
The xx’s return to Seattle happens on Wednesday, July 25th at the Showbox at the Market. Tickets are currently sold out. Doors open at 7 and Montreal producer Jacques Greene opens. Listen to “Angels” below and read a full report on their live return over at Pitchfork.