CocoRosie revisit their roots on Heartache City

Heartache CityYou have to be in a very particular kind of mood to appreciate the music of CocoRosie. Fans of the transatlantic duo, which comprises sisters Bianca and Sierra Casady, will already know of their refusal to be categorised. New attendees to the maddening crowd should be warned, their vocals can take some getting used to. From creepy-crawly nursery rhymes to chord acrobatics and rapping, CocoRosie are the underground yet still celebrated equivalent of Joanna Newsome, and have inspired the likes of Micachu & the Shapes, Planningtorock and Grimes since their inception in 2003.

It is fundamentally impossible to argue CocoRosie fall into any demographic besides experimental, but at the same time they remain quite apart from their peers. On new and sixth studio album Heartache City, the Casady sisters continue to create on their own terms. What they don’t do is mix things up. Recorded at the band’s farm studio in Southern France, this album once again makes use of toy instruments, lo-fi aesthetics and an overall stripped back approach to their music.

As you might imagine, the results are very similar to their five previous full length releases: debut La Maison de Mon Reve, breakthrough Noah’s Ark, The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn, Grey Oceans and 2013’s Tales of a GrassWidow. Heartache City follows a short hiatus for the band and the solo wanderings of Bianca Casady. Unfortunately neither independence nor rest amount to new vision in this case. Any one of these tracks could find a home on a previous endeavour, and none of them particularly standout as a good introduction to new fans.

That isn’t to say Heartache City lacks in character: it screams of it. CocoRosie’s sound is flung all over the place before coming to a rest on closing track “Lucky Clover”. The song rather unnervingly begins with a chart-ready melody but soon descends into a luxurious, lazy swoon-fest typical of the band. Elsewhere “Un Beso” is unbelievably cute, and the brash “Lost Girls” ensures Heartbreak City could never be considered a relaxing album but is nevertheless a spoken word piece worthy of your time.

CocoRosie's biggest downfall is their refusal to blossom into something else - which is totally at odds with their otherwise quite open mentality. That said, Heartbreak City doesn't take a nosedive in terms of quality, and there's plenty here for established fans to enjoy.

Release: 18th September 2015, Self-release


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