The super freak-folk duo CocoRosie offers a sophomore release that is nearly identical to their first album in sound, but dramatically altered in soul.
Their latest, Noah’s Ark, hosts the eccentric blend of folksy guitars and scratchy hip-hop beats found on the previous album, yet the atmosphere of insular intimacy is no longer a predominant sound.Ê Instead, their meandering vocals have more focus and the claustrophobic sentimentality fades, leaving impassioned fans wanting a little something more but nonetheless attracting new ones.
They obviously benefit from better recording equipment and a more spontaneous recording schedule – they laid tracks in several cities across the United States during their tour last year- making the sometimes abrasive vocals more listener-friendly and the whole tone less heavy.Ê However, they still utilize odd tools for multi-layered sounds, such as animal-noises toys, bong-rips-in-action, and rain fall on pavement, so the quirky edge never really wears off.
The opening track is seductive “K-hole,” which is quintessential CocoRosie, sounding like a hip-hop lullaby without the rap or sensical lyricism. The pet theme of a longing for childhood and innocence is apparent both in the simple melody and the stark lyrics: “God will come and wash away/our tattoos and all the cocaine/and all of the aborted babies/will turn into little puppies.”
Some of the particularly outstanding tracks benefit from talented guest artists, who further broaden the sound of the album. Devendra Banhart is psychedelic royalty in his own right, and lends a warbling Spanish lilt to the oddly percussive track “Brazilian Sun.”
To the greatest benefit of the album overall, Antony of and the Johnsons fame and co-headliner on their latest tour, gives a quirky spin to several tracks, notably “Beautiful Boy,” the album’s most soulful track where his bluesy vocals sound soft and feminine against the abrasive mewlings of Bianca.
The overall standout of the album is second-to-last “Binosaurs,” which features French beat-boxer Spleen, who has accompanied the girls on their last several tours and contributes lyrically for the first time on a recording.Ê His smooth and rhythmic delivery makes up for the inability to understand what he’s saying, and Antony chirrups
subtly throughout, serving to ground the track somewhat.
Their peculiar blend of blues and hip-hop and everything in between creates an unusual landscape not traveled by many. If you feel at home with isolation, depression, and baby barnyard animals, it is certainly worth a visit.