Review Summary: This seemingly out-of-nowhere debut from the Cassidy sisters is unique, intimate, and slightly compelling.
CocoRosie is made up of sisters Sierra and Bianca Cassidy. According to popular belief (yet to be proven,) the two sisters were forced to grow up apart from one another, as a result of Sierra being shipped to boarding school at a young age. Then, many years later (in the year 2000) Sierra moved into a tiny apartment in Paris, mainly to pursue her opera career. Meanwhile, Bianca studied sociology and began working with visual art and writing. Then, in 2003, Bianca traveled to Paris and showed up at Sierra's apartment, and so CocoRosie was formed.
In the small apartment (in the bathroom, to be specific,) they recorded a hip hop debut named "Word to the Cow." It was never released. Then, they wrote and recorded their proper debut, La Maison de Mon Rêve,
or, literally, The House of My Dream. Intended only for close friends, it was picked up by Touch & Go records and distributed as the proper debut.
is a strange concoction of an album. It consists only of the two sisters, an acoustic guitar, and multiple toys or devices to create miscellaneous noises (chains, belts, tinker toys, etc.) However, this method creates an intense closeness, and intimacy, so in turn, you feel like you're sitting right outside their bathroom door listening in. It's quite an experience, and best heard on headphones, if I do say so myself.
It kicks off with the mournful-sounding Terrible Angels.
This song starts with some rooster noise, or pig noise, you're not really sure. This is a good example of the tinker toys, and this particular sound is used often. "If every angel's terrible / Then why do you welcome them"" they question, over the sparse, lovely melodic soundscape. ("And bathing in the moonlight / I'm to tremble like a kitten" they coo as the song continues.) When it's over, you're not quite sure you've heard, and you're not quite sure why you liked it, but you did.
The second song is one of the best in their catalog. By Your Side
is a satire of the life of a housewife, and is predominately sung by Sierra's delicate, high vocals. With some funny lyrics ("All I want to do is die a housewife,") it creates a good listen. Actually, there's a couple songs of dark humor. From the "are-they-serious-or-not"" of Jesus Loves Me
("Jesus loves me but not my wife") to the guilty pleasures of Butterscotch
("Why does butterscotch taste so good" / When we can't have any / But we must, we should.")
However, not each song is that humorous. The most romantic song on the album, Good Friday,
contains some lovely whispering by the sisters, and it just makes you feel so overcome with... nothingness, actually. It almost wipes you breathless. But, not each song can be so compelling. For each the handful of fantastic songs, there's a couple songs that are just irritating. Tahiti Rain Song
contains the most annoying vocals Bianca ever produces as she croaks over a beat-boxing rhythm, an odd pan flute-like instrumental, and rain. To the same fate falls West Side,
a brief, almost-filler song. Though it has wonderful lyrics, Sierra's too-pure vocals going straight into your ears is almost freaky. And irritating.
But, from the gorgeous admiration of Madonna
, to the trueness of Not For Sale
, all the way to the end with the pretty, tear jerking closer Lyla
, the album has enough to keep you interested. It may take a couple listens to accept it, which is expected with anything this unique. But that's it -- it's unique. It's different. These girls are so unafraid to be themselves, that that is almost enough to sell this intimate journey through the minds of the Cassidy sisters.
Great melodies, with some great (and odd) lyrics
May require patience
Some too-irritating vocals
A little bit of filler
By Your Side
Haitian Love Songs (best lyrics on the album)
note: my rating would be 3.7, because it's not quite a 4, but it's better than a 3.5 but, i put 3.5 as the apparent rating.