Friday, July 16, 2010
CocoRosie has never ceased to push the limits of what a delicate, little female voice can make as far as a mix of feelings go. Grey Oceans is absolutely no exception to this, if not, is the best example of it. The eeriness of their tracks can be off-putting to a first-time listener, and seems boring, but upon further time spent, one will usually figure out that it’s actually a very friendly sound, and doesn’t get stale very quickly or with ease. Also, their choice of lyrical subject can often draw a distinction from the sounds that are actually coming out of the speakers, which is one of their best qualities. A good example of this is “By Your Side” from their La Maison de mon Reve record, which sounds too delicate and quirky to be an anthem of domestic lifestyle, but is nonetheless.
Grey Oceans starts off solemn and quiet, maybe even a bit tiresome, but what’s lost in “Trinity’s Crying” is made up for throughout the whole album, or perhaps it’s better to say, the first track is only there to warm up the ears. “Smokey Taboo” cuts in with jungle-esque hits, very reminiscent of several tracks from La Maison de mon Reve, but in a new, and more refreshing way. Bianca Casady tears through this track with authoritative rhymes and melodies, which are about as abrasive as CocoRosie has ever been. Dynamic track qualities can also be found in “Hopscotch,” which features Sierra Casady’s infamous humming, buzzing, whining solos that’s become a CocoRosie staple, but then surprises it’s listener with a jumpy piano chorus. Both “Hopscotch” and “Smokey Taboo” manifest age-old CocoRosie sounds with bracing, more buoyant individuality than seen before in Noah’s Ark or La Maison de mon Reve.
The closing track “Here I come,” ends the record, for lack of a better word, quite nicely. To compliment use of a shoegazey voice to set a haughty rhythm, “Here I come” is sounded out and balanced nicely by Sierra Casady’s gentle whims and vocal quirks, and then rounds out with a calm piano gallop at the end. Bianca and Sierry Casady have done with Grey Oceans what they’ve always done, a very playful yet eerie sound. Another great album the Casady sisters have put out, and their music has remained what should be a doctored treatment for insomnia. No sounds will relax and excite so eloquently as these. Their sound as always, but thoroughly with Grey Oceans, will pay off tremendously.
Noah Lennox, better known by his stage name, Panda Bear, has stuck to his guns on his new single, Tomboy, straying not far from the droney, stirring vocals his listeners have previously become familiar with in Person Pitch, such as tracks like "Bros," "Good Girl," and "Take Pills." Tomboy uses a repetitive guitar sample to back up Lennox’s reverberating voice, which plays with the listener in a fun way, but only briefly and with little depth. Similiarly to "Comfy in Nautica," what Tomboy fails to do is provide a contrast from the beginning of the track, to the middle, and on to the end. The same guitar sample and customary synth beat repeat and loop, which does create a somewhat therapeutic characteristic to the track. Adding to this, too, is the collection of (repeating) lyrics such as, “What’s my life like?” and “No matter what it takes.” Lyrics that have a self-studying quality to them are no stranger to this track, which go hand in hand with the almost remedial feeling it has.
When it’s all said and done though, Tomboy provides the listener with very little contrast in feeling and sound throughout it’s entire four minutes and nineteen seconds. Unlike Person Pitch’s Good Girl, which gallops, trots, climbs, and descends throughout almost thirteen minutes of different sounds and feelings. Good Girl completely contrasts it’s opening two minutes of overbearing synth hits at ten mintues, when the listener is hearing Lennox’s soft voice singing words like “I want you to know, sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” A distinction that will make the listener want to play the track again, or force the listener to play it more than once to even realize that it’s there.
More of this contrast and lengthiness would have been pleasurable with Tomboy, but Lennox’s freightliner melodies and vocal ideas are of their own. Which, as unfortunate as it is to say, makes listening to this track once or twice sufficient. It’s obvious repetitiveness is never a quality, nor is an overbearing attempt at being original one either, so it was pleasing to hear Lennox keep that middle ground and give his listeners what they were hungry for. With Tomboy, don’t expect any curveballs
You can find the track on stereogum here