15. CocoRosie - Grey Oceans (PIAS)

on Sunday, 26 December 2010
With the exception of having moustaches and picking awful album artwork, in my eyes CocoRosie can do no wrong. Their twisted take on hip hop mixed with ancient folk and toy instruments is the kind of thing you should avoid like the plague and yet they pull it off so well. Over the years they've actually provided some of my favourite beats, simple but ridiculously catchy.

This is a more consistent album than The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn, the good songs aren't quite as good, though that album had some exceptional moments, but there are no fillers, Lemonade, The Moon and the Cow standout with the opening triplet also being worthy of a mention.

Spoiler : What Boomkat Said:
Grey Oceans is the fourth album from sister duo Bianca and Sierra Casady, and continues to chart CocoRosie's departure from their much-beloved but ultra lo-fi debut, La Maison De Mon Reve. After the atmospheric acoustic-electronic fusion of 'Trinity's Crying', 'Smokey Taboo' arrives as a slow-burning treat, colliding tabla rhythms with electronic tones whilst Bianca and Sierra layer their very different vocal styles: while the classically trained Sierra opts for an almost operatic approach, Bianca tends to sound like she's voicing a Tex Avery cartoon. The voices compliment each other beautifully and always ground the album in something substantial and accessible, even when the sonic backdrop is at its most fanciful. In one of their finest moments, the sisters make like a tag team on the outrageously bizarre 'Hopscotch', switching between hauntingly maudlin verses littered with electronic beats to honky-tonk piano choruses accompanied by throbbing sub-bass - it's like a collision between vaudeville-style variety theatre and dubstep during its weirdest stretches. Also of note, the lovely 'Undertaker' fashions an arrangement for an old recording of what is apparently the sisters' mother singing in her Cherokee, and 'R.I.P. Burn Face' develops a kind of melancholic sample-driven swagger. This latter track underlines what the duo do best on the new album: introducing their established fairytale language of glockenspiels, toy instruments and far-fetched yarns to a more sequenced and rigidly programmed approach to arrangement. If anything, the electronics seem to further facilitate CocoRosie's forays into fanciful, adventurous songwriting, making possible a surreal and inimitable brand of music hall electronica.