COCOROSIE: Grey Oceans (PIAS Recordings)


Posted on May 3rd 2010 11:54 pm

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CocoRosie: Grey Oceans

Grey Oceans
PIAS 2010
11 Tracks. 47mins11secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

One shouldn’t judge a book, or a record, by its cover, right? CocoRosie’s fourth album will probably be remembered for its truly awful artwork. But, behind the amateurish cover and self-depreciating picture of sisters Bianca and Sierra Casady hides the pair’s best album to date, a treasure trove of wonderful miniature cinematic pop songs cast in juvenile broken folk, tainted with brushes of electronics and opera.

This is nothing new for the two sisters, who have developed their unique style since well before their first album, La Maison De Mon Rêve, released on Touch & Go six years ago, yet Grey Oceans is served by much more delicate and complex melodies, denoting a more mature approach to the pair’s dreamy fairytale songs. While the mix of stripped down instrumentation, based on harp, toy instruments, shaky electronics and found sounds, on one side, and child-like vocals and operatic motifs on the other is still very much at the core of the CocoRosie sound, the pair have widened their horizon greatly and refined their spellbinding melodies to create a totally fascinating collection.

The recording of this album started in the sisters’ adopted city of Paris, where they have both been living for some time, and continued in various other cities around the world, from Buenos Aires to Berlin and New York to Melbourne. This has perhaps partly influenced the variety in sounds and samples used, from the oriental overtones of Smokey’s Taboo to the honky-tonk piano which opens Hopscotch and the recording of the sisters’ part Cherokee mum singing in her native language on the stunning Undertaker, a tape recording that the sisters found in a box amongst other of their mother’s possessions. Elsewhere, the delicate aspect of the music is brought to life with delicate brushes of Sierra’s harp and Bianca’s toy instruments, especially on R.I.P. Burn Face, Gallows or Fairy Paradise. All the way through, the sisters’ voices, child-like, approximative and often processed, tell disjointed tales where graveyards, glass eyes, spells, mermaids and pirates are common currency. Sierra’s operatic singing acts as a grown-up counterpoint in this overgrown wonderland, yet it also serves at underpinning the poetic aspect of the songs, very much like it did on La Maison De Mon Rêve.

The Casady sisters’ songs are so perfectly self-contained that it seems as if they could not work in any other context than the one they painstakingly create for each of their records. While this is perhaps a deterrent for some, it is exactly what has gained CocoRosie such a devoted following over the years. With their last album, they seemed to have got lost in their own dream world, their songs appearing for the most part to lack the sparkle that had characterised their previous outputs. With Grey Oceans, the pair have once again found their way, channelling a new found energy into some of their most stunning songs yet, and ultimately creating a truly magical and poetic record. One should not just THIS record by its cover.


CocoRosieLand | CocoRosie (MySpace) | PIAS Recordings
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

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Comments (4)

4 Responses to “COCOROSIE: Grey Oceans (PIAS Recordings)”

  1. Walt D.on 08 May 2010 at 7:19 am

    Haven’t picked this up yet, but I actually loved “Adventures….” I’m really looking forward to this one too though.

  2. hanicon 22 May 2010 at 1:25 pm

    the only review that said good things about this album!!!! this album is a gem despite what everyone has been dissing.

  3. themilkmanon 22 May 2010 at 5:37 pm

    I haven’t read any other review I don’t think, but I’m a bit surprised to read that this album hasn’t been so well received. It is, as you said, a gem. I wasn’t so much of a fan of their previous album, but this one is their best. It really recaptures much of the mood of their first 2, but adds something even more magical.

  4. THE 2010 REVIEW | themilkfactoryon 19 Dec 2010 at 10:58 pm

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