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Friday, April 20, 2007

Cocorosie: "The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn"

Cocorosie has never been a group for the mainstream. Since their inception, the Casady sisters have captivated their audience, not by catchy hooks or flashy productions but with their unparalleled sound. For better or for worse, Cocorosie has sacrificed much of their success to remain true to the sound that they wished to create. "The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn" is a step towards accessibility and the success that follows it, yet at the same time, it doesn't even feel like the group is sacrificing what has kept them unique all this time. If anything, the album is proof that the group is evolving and maturing as artists. The result is fantastic!

Beginning with the first single "Rainbowarriors," the album starts on a high note. While not the highlight of the album by any means, the song features the group's typically quirky lyrics over a half sung, half rapped melody. The chorus itself is less than catchy, but the real value of the song comes from it's incredibly deep production. "Promise" is a much better song, all around. Bianca's rap in this song is amazing, and surprisingly and uncharacteristically catchy. The beat box-esque drums in the song blend perfectly with the fluttering synth arpeggios that flood the song to form something that is really solid.

"Japan" is classic Cocorosie. It sounds more like a children's song gone awry. Here, Bianca quips "Everybody wants to go to Iraq, but once they go they don't come back." Of course, the song isn't about Iraq. Apparently everybody also wants to go to Japan, Californ-i-a, and Jamaica. It's humorous in it's simplicity, but that's really what makes the song work. It winds up being a stand-out on the album.

The best song on the album, by far, is "Werewolf," and it's an early front runner for song of the year in my book! The beat box drums make another appearance here, this time over a well-composed piano loop. The song starts off quite slowly, but by the time the chorus comes in at full force you will have already fallen in love with it. When the sisters sing, "I'ma shake you off though, get up on that horse and ride into the sunset, look back with no remorse" you can't help sing along. It's such a beautiful song, but one that is also incredibly entertaining. That song is followed quite splendidly by "Animals," a song that is pretty simple and straightforward. However, it's also quite moving and one that you'll want to listen to over and over again to get every last bit of magic out of it.

"The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn" is no "Noah's Ark," that's for sure! But that's not a bad thing at all. Personally, I could see the appeal of Cocorosie's previous efforts but could never get into them like I felt I should have. This album is different. From start to finish, I found myself captivated by the sheer versatility that Bianca and Sierra demonstrate throughout. The songs here are brilliant in their approach, and are simple yet seemingly complex at the same time. Anyone who devotes time to this album will not be disappointed. It is a work of art, and one that should be appreciated. One thing's for sure...they won me over.

Recommended for fans of Cocorosie, Xiu Xiu, Joanna Newsom, and anyone who thought that there was no originality left in the music world.

Key Tracks:
1. "Promise"
2. "Japan"
3. "Sunshine"
4. "Werewolf"
5. "Animals"

7 out of 10 Stars

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