Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review - Cocos Lovers, Elephant Lands


Cocos Lovers

The second album of a Kent-based folk group of eight. A concept album of sorts.

If you wanted to make up Cocos Lovers from scratch you’d probably have to get the Fleet Foxes and Vampire Weekend into a pot and then add some choir boys. They embrace the idea of young folk where the instruments are graded by eccentricity and no song is complete without a harmony verging on the sublime. The fiddles, guitars, flute and percussions are handed amongst the family band and the result is an immediate intimacy. They recorded the album in the back of a converted caravan. They’re just…wonderful. Their first album, ‘Johanes’, was full of spiraling songs, to be danced to in a field (preferably with a little bit cider) or enjoyed at home for their life and unassumingly poetic lyrics.

In ELEPHANT LANDS the group has developed a significant wanderlust. The titular track begins with a guitar solo, laid onto which are maracas and drumming in the style of a convincing stampede; we are told to ‘run to the hills’. Okay, it’s a little bit like Lion King, a little bit more so when their harmonies take on tribal-like chants. But in an utterly charming way; they have morphed the countryside and wilderness themes of folk into a safari. The same spirit of adventure presides over Feral and Wild, Door to the Andes and Fortuna. And then in Blackened Shore they have some Spanish guitar and the traveling theme is played with in different ways. Like the traditional serenading of a lover who’s left port for the high seas (Days are Long), a lovely fifty second snippet of the girl’s vocals. But my hands-down favourite take on the idea is in Barcelona. We have a live feel, the band setting up, a fiddler and a Spanish guitar to set the scene for a gnarled story of someone who sounds suspiciously like a pirate. Who else is ‘born with no arms and a twisted mind’.

It’s an eccentric take on the concept album, I grant you, but I can’t stress this enough, they pull it off. After all, they are wonderful. Katy Browse

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