Coexist - exactly as its name would suggest - is hauntingly dark, filled with regret, and heart-wrenchingly listless. Long gone are the carefree summer days of travelling to all four corners of the globe with a playlist to match. This album will bring you heavily back down to earth, and just in time for the first chilling touch of winter.
It may be melancholy, but this album spans the world in terms of genres and inspiration that the band has incorporated since their debut in 2009. Reunion's steel drums will whisk you away to the Caribbean, whilst Swept Away's minimalist house will take you to the dark side of Europe's music scene.
After a brief separation to allow each member to work on new ideas, they've come back together with some beautifully skeletal sounds that don't stray too far from their original tone. The lyrics bleed love, regret and a kind of strangled hope through the combined voices of Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim. It's been said before, but worth saying again that it's akin to listening to two people telling their own intersecting and overlapping stories - and it is captivating to listen to. Madley Croft never misses a beat and the improved confidence in Sim's voice is so striking that the pair fit together more perfectly than ever before.
Then there are Jamie Smith's bare beats, synthy whines and comforting bass. He gradually breaks away from their debut sound, refining and honing their already frail frame to produce the poignant atmosphere required to accompany the yearning voices of his band mates. The result is far less upbeat than their previous album, which at least had glimmers of energy in amongst the lethargic. But every time you think you might be in for a mood change, the beat - or vocals - bring you right back down, to leave you hankering for the smallest flicker of hope.
Swept Away is the closest you come to thinking a variation might be on the way, with brisker beats and momentum-filled instrumentals crafted by Jamie. This equal combination of the trio's talents makes for one of the best tracks the album has to offer and peters out languidly with tinkling piano, before blurring into the final track Our Song, which leaves you feeling like you've been privy to a beautifully intimate exchange between the two friends.
The band has risen to the challenge of a second album and has certainly not bowed under the pressure of years of hype. They have evolved and refined, as well as satisfying the cravings of millions of avid fans, even if it might leave you feeling a little despondent. Perhaps it's time to go in search of that winter sun.
Average price: £7.99