CocoRosie - Grey Oceans

by Steve Rhodes Rating:8 Release Date:2010-05-03

When you think of CocoRosie, a mix of images of 19th Century workhouses, Oliver Twist and vaudevillian theatre usually springs to mind. Their sound tends to be rather dark, depressing and childlike often dominated with cloying sentimentally with only the odd track or two alleviating their pains across their releases so far.

It is such a nice change then to hear such as a refreshing album from them as Grey Oceans, their fourth album and first for PIAS records.

Opener 'Trinity's Crying' is an excellent example of this, beginning in traditional style with a dark opening but evolving into a far more optimistic offering, with a hypnotic sample over the top. The blend of this, with subtle electronica, piano and plucked strings, is a memorable delight.

There is a massive improvement with Grey Oceans, with the addition of traditional Arabic and far-east influences ('Smokey's Taboo', 'Undertaker') and touches of drum and bass (Hopscotch). There's even echoes of MIA in 'The Moon Asked the Crow' albeit if she was created by the Brothers Grimm on the advice of Tricky.

'RIP Burn Face' is the highlight of the album, a wistful tune of playful electronica, with a heavy nod to School of Seven Bells and evoking Mum or Bjork at their delicate best.

It's difficult not to bracket CocoRosie alongside fellow outsiders, such as Fever Ray, Joanna Newsom, Bat For Lashes and the aforementioned Bjork. As a result they have often been relegated to the status of the difficult spoilt child to the brassier and bolder older sister, but CocoRosie have clearly been listening and it's great that they've added such warmth, depth and variety with Grey Oceans while maintaining their unique identity.

If you're looking to escape the mundane and drift off in fantasy for just a short while I'd recommend giving Grey Oceans your utmost attention.

Steve Rhodes

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