Review Summary: Casady sisters release third album, a mix of Hip-Hop, Freak Folk and Indie that brings to mind Joanna Newsom, among others.
CocoRosie is an interesting band, to say the least. The act’s sole members are sisters Sierra and Bianca Casady who, after ten years of not speaking to one another, came together in 2003 to create La Maison de Mon Rêve
. Soon after, they were pursued (and later signed) by Touch and Go
, one of Indie’s largest record labels. As if their history wasn’t strange enough, the duo create some of the most original music I have ever come to hear. Their sound is a fusion of the Freak Folk movement and demented, minimalist electronica. Picture Joanna Newsom covering Devendra Banhart being remixed by Beck.
leads off The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn
, the duo’s third full-length. Mixing a strangely happy organ progression with fuzzed out synth lines and samples that sound like they could have only come from a child’s toy, Rainbowarriors is an obvious choice for a lead single. It’s simple, yet groovy (I will never use this word again, I promise), drum beat and choruses of “We are Rainbowarriors/Evil come not near/Rainbow love awaits us/With hearts of love and tears”
make it almost impossible not to get you bobbing your head. This is the kind of track that sounds like it would top the pop charts some light-years away from Earth.
Now, despite being sisters, the members of CocoRosie have entirely different voices. The younger sister, Bianca, sounds very much like harpist/indie goddess Joanna Newsom. Her voice, like that of Miss Newsom, combines equal parts old woman and pre-pubescent child, making for a quirky, yet very much enjoyable mixture. But where Bianca has the kind of voice that could captivate Indie hipsters, Sierra has the kind of voice that can impress almost anyone. Her operatic background shows up in many of her vocal parts, most noticeably the last halves of the sparse, piano-driven Houses
and the demented sing along Japan
, in which Sierra really lets loose.
With Ghosthorse and Stillborn
, CocoRosie delve even deeper into the Pop and Hip-Hop influences that dotted their previous releases. While tracks like Sunshine
may be entirely stripped down, just piano and Bianca’s quirky, yet honest, lyrics (she begins the song with “To all the boys and girls outside/You know I didn't cry/But you saw me anyway/In the back of the creek one day”
), songs like Werewolf
almost wouldn’t be out of place on a Madlib record. Werewolf’s piano and pounding, trip-hop esque, drum combination allows Bianca to more or less rap through the verses. The lyrics are heartbreaking, to say the least. When Sierra joins her younger sister for choruses of [i] I'ma shake you off though/Get up on that horse and/Ride into the sunset/ Look back with no remorse”
, one must do everything in his/her power to stop from both tearing up and singing along at the same time.
is a record that is just as quirky as it is brilliant; [Well-written] Pop music as it would sound from some demented far away place. CocoRosie’s formula doesn’t differ too much from track to track: simple, affected drum machine beats underneath organ/piano/harp and either of the sisters’ (Usually Bianca’s) unique vocals. CocoRosie’s blend of Freak Folk, Twee Pop and Hip Hop may not appeal to most, but those who think it may owe it to themselves to try it out.