CocoRosie CocoRosieGrey Oceans
Many things have been said about the Casady sisters. Over the years they have been the objects of malicious hate and sometimes flattery that's become watered down over time, along with their lo-fi orientation. After starring in their own particular “The Parent Trap” in bohemian Montmartre, from which arose “La Maison De Mon Rêve”, the bathroom where they bragged of having composed songs like “Terrible Angels” or “By Your Side”got to be a little cramped. What was merely a creative catharsis not intended to leave their apartment became a cult object for thousands of people who found an outlet in their imperfection and visible flaws for the experimental folk that over time made Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom stars. In 2005, they came back with “Noah’s Ark”, one of the most underrated albums of the decade. The public was divided between those who were starting to rant and rave about the Americans for losing the sound essence of their debut and those who found in their Martian collages a shapeless land where Sierra’s lyrics, Bianca’s björkian raps, and the toy shop came together to deconstruct some spots that had never been seen before. Obviously the switch from brazen lo-fi to cleaner production was the logical course, given the repercussion of their creations. But if the divergence of opinions was already more than palpable in 2005, with the launching of “The Adventures Of Ghosthorse & Stillborn” the detractors that they had already come up against got even more pissed off by the pop –and danceable– turn that anticipated songs like “Rainbowariors.”
With CocoRosie, differences apart, the same thing happens that happened with Goldfrapp. Their debut albums were two glorious jewels unanimously praised, but the rest of their discography has aroused the hatred of a large part of their initial followers. As someone who defends lost causes, I don’t at all intend to fight tooth and nail for the Casady sisters’ career–I already personally took charge of defending Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, even in their least memorable moments– particularly as little remains of those two unpretentious young women. Nevertheless, “Grey Oceans”— in spite of the terrible cover that invites us to download directly, so as not to have to look at that aesthetic monstrosity on the shelf in our houses—is an interesting work in which the fatal errors that they committed in their two previous albums dissipate.
Their coming-out in Sub Pop was recorded nomadically between Paris, Berlin, New York, Berlin and Melbourne, although the majority of the songs were completed in the Panda studios in Buenos Aires, and it has turned out to be a record full of the vintage imagination that fits CocoRosie like a glove. They continue to get sounds out of all sorts of toys, such as, for example, the FM3 Bhudda Machine that holds the reins of “Trinity’s Crying”, but there are other important textures, like those of the pianist Nicolas Kalwill, a man who went from Creole music to making a living under the parameters of jazz in Paris, which gives “Grey Oceans” a homogenous theme. Songs like the one by the same name or “Undertaker”, a lament with a starring sample of matriarch Casady intoning Cherokee verses, are lovely and hypnotic. The tribal beats and vocal symbiosis of CocoRosie are worth paying attention to again – listen to “ Smokey Taboo” or the schizophrenic vaudeville drum’n’bass of “Hopscotch”. And there are even more hidden pearls.
“Lemonade” is a try at a pop song, although its first piano chords might lead us to think the opposite. Evocative and sad, it is a memory of childhood with a hint of jazz (we already know that the spirit of Billie Holiday runs in Sierra’s veins), and it is one of the best pieces, along with “Here I Come”, the album’s technological farewell, with a beat marked new wave-style and the narration of a winter rape. As a whole, it is the most enjoyable work from these two sisters, who the hazards of fate led to trot the globe when all they wanted to do was to experience again those moments together stolen from them by distance. Maybe some of this biographical information is just a stunt to get attention, but in a strictly musical sense, CocoRosie has given us enough reasons to keep believing in them. Sergio del Amo