Staying true to their minimalist formula of bass, drums, and vocals, C.O.C.O.
adheres to the less-is-more, sloppy creed of K Records with Play Drum and Bass
. Olivia Ness
plucks the bass and rocks the mic urgently like Debbie Harry
or Belinda Carlisle
at a basement party, while Dub Narcotic Sound System
's Chris Sutton
funks up the beats and adds icing to the cake by yelling " yeah" and "woo!" eagerly into the overheads. Just as before, it's a delightfully raw, polyrhythmic jamboree. There hasn't been much of a musical progression made since their debut album seven years ago, but when you consider the overabundance of chamber pop bands that include glockenspiels, harmoniums, violins, and kitchen sinks in their orchestration in 2007, C.O.C.O.
's simplicity sounds more refreshing than ever before. Ness
is at her best when she doesn't try to force her vocals (Randy Jackson
would likely label her "pitchy") and shows off her most sultry work to date with the soulful, dub ballad "High Low." Even when she belts it out, the fact that she sometimes goes sharp somehow adds to the charm of it all. Sutton
even takes the lead on two tracks with his lackadaisical punky twang (think Billy Corgan
meets Stephen Malkmus
) and breaks up the disc with the faster "We Gotta Right" and uber-snide "Ess.Ay." The production is top-notch, showcasing the distortion-heavy drums and in-the-pocket bass that make for some of the most danceable indie jams since Tones on Tail
's "Go." Since the instrumentation is primarily the same throughout -- give or take some tambourine, alternate percussion, and backing vocals -- the songs run together a bit, but it's wonderful to see that the duo's staying true to themselves and while doing so, they've created their best album to date.