The two sisters have named their music “freak folk” and you can see why. With a mix of pop, indie, blues and even opera all intertwined through electronica, CocoRosie are well aware of the fun they can have while throwing out the rulebook.
The sisters were raised in various locations across the United States until Sierra (aka Rosie) eloped to Paris and they grew apart. Once reunited, their background and love for the experimental lead to the formation of CocoRosie in 2003. The colourful get-ups including drawn on moustaches and elaborate accessories all make for a circus cabaret feel and as you can imagine, so does their sound. It can be quite bizarre, even by our standards, and that certainly is the initial feeling of their latest album Tales of a Grass Widow.
Opening track “After the Afterlife” has a rock edge. Some listeners may, at this point, wonder whether they’ve opened a can of worms with a further ten tracks to go. However, this is a first impression, and against popular opinion and phrases that control our existence, that shouldn’t be judged. The feeling is short-lived as “Tears for Animals” kicks in. With a far more catchy rhythm about it, there is an uplifting quality and this is something that continues throughout.
Flirting between haunting vocal performances and the influence of hip-hop, it feels as if CocoRosie have really developed their sound. Reigning in the craziness present in their last album ages (aka three years) ago, Tales of a Grass Widow is a carefully produced selection of beautifully experimental world music.
The slow tempo songs do have a level of euphoria about them. Almost like an exotic Sigur Ros which can be heard in track four “Broken Chariot”. With vocals similar to the likes of Lykke Li yet more attitude than you can wave a stick at, the chemistry is definitely infectious and there is much more of a flow from start to finish.
Their latest single is “Gravediggress” and one of the standout songs of the album. However the variety of sounds on offer means that you can change your mind in the blink of an eye. By the time you get to the last song, it’s like you’ve done a full circle. From the unpromising start of “After the Afterlife”, the album has grown and accumulates with my personal favourite “Poison”. Enjoying the last song of an album so much is always an unexpected highlight. Generally used for filler, CocoRosie have saved the best until last. And fast forwarding the track from 4 minutes to just over 13 minutes and you will hear a delightful almost childish surprise.
Having released an impressive total of five albums to date, they have found their niche in the form of bat-shit crazy instrumentals that go beyond their drawn-on moustaches. With an influence of hip-hop and floaty electronica running strong throughout, this is a contemporary and interesting album that doesn’t just suit current music trends, but excels them.
Release: 27th May 2013, City Slang