The perceived idea that bands and artists should reinvent themselves with every release could well explain the slightly lukewarm reaction to The xx's new album 'Coexist' by the nation's media this week. Sure, 'it's good', they say, 'but it's not very different is it?'
They're right, in essence 'Coexist' doesn't do that much that the London trio's debut didn't upon its release in 2009, launching three painfully shy teenagers onto the world stage. However, the subtle changes and differences in the group many critics have missed are plain to see as they put in a heart warming album launch show in their hometown tonight.
For example, the dance direction many expected from the album following producer Jamie xx's rise to becoming one of the most in demand names on the circuit is brought to the fore - adding beats to first album cut 'Infinity' and packing a sets worth of emotion into 'Coexist' highlight 'Sunset'. The xx are never going to be pulling shapes for the front row but this is as close as you're going to get and it works perfectly.
Additionally, there is a self assured confidence about the band that is simply unrecognisable from the same band who whispered their way onto the live circuit four years ago. 'Crystalised' and Paxman's anthem 'Intro' rattle the rafters with bass courtesy of Oli Sim - perhaps the most confident looking man in the room tonight, never mind the stage whilst Romy Madely-Croft's distinct guitar works shimmers like the silver confetti fluttering from the roof to the floor during 'Fantasy'.
The xx don't sound like the past nor do they sound like the future but rather they embody the right now, something often lost between nostalgia and dreaming of tomorrow.That they continue to grow and be the best version of themselves is remarkable to watch and whilst their wheel hasn't been reinvented, it continues to roll on ever faster and is looking increasingly unstoppable.