Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cocos EP launch

The Farmhouse, Canterbury - Friday 3rd July

£3 for three bands and a free copy of Cocos Lovers' new EP Time To Stand.

I caught most of Black Market Karma's set. They rock. There's a heavy psych/drone thing going on with their sound, but I sense they're also aspiring to mainstream recognition, so there are other less interesting elements. Very talented and versatile players, though. Fat, slippery basslines from the bass player kept things moving - his tendency to play high on the neck together with some of the repetitive, almost Krautrock phrasing, had me thinking of New Order, while some of the guitar playing approached the intensity of the White Stripes. A nice MBV-style noise/feedback freakout to finish things off. When I declined the offer to join their mailing list (sorry, too much email already), someone associated with the band kindly gave me a free copy of their new EP. The cover art is awful (sketches of the band members trying to look maximally cool), but some of the music, especially the last track, is rather good. I couldn't make out any of the lyrics during their set - what I can hear on the EP aren't particularly inspired, so it's probably best that they keep them buried under all the guitar noise. If they discard their indie/cool leanings, they could evolve into something like a 21st century Spacemen 3.

The Momeraths were amusing. I've seen them once before. They dress up in eccentric gear and sing cute, quirky pop songs, seemingly inhabiting a world of their own.

Cocos Lovers set was a bit disappointing. I was spoiled by being present at two beautiful, relaxed outdoor sets they played on sunny days a couple of weekends ago. Here they were in The Farmhouse, clearly struggling with their monitor mix, playing to a semi-attentive audience, and it just didn't have the same magic. They seemed to be rushing through all the songs. I've since spoken to Phil and it turns out that this was due to James the drummer having had a frustrating day moving a piano, and expressing said frustration by drumming a bit more aggressively than usual. The energy seemed a bit diffused, there wasn't the usual sense of unity that's evident among the band members. No "Dead in the Water", no "Cracks and Boulders". And the new song which may or may not be called "Horizons" seems to have been sort of Calypso-fied. Not quite, but there's a definite Carribean lilt which has crept in. I was lucky enough to witness the first three live attempts at this song, and it was almost crushingly beautiful - I'm not sure the new arrangement works, but perhaps it was just a one-off thing.

The EP's great, though. They've maintained a lo-fi production approach, got the vocals just right. "Silence of a Moonlit Sky" is probably my favourite at the moment. "Awake You Loon" has curious, almost sci-fi lyrics I haven't quite figured out - musically it reminds me of the Go-Betweens "Dusty in Here". Their friend Benji adds some pennywhistle and bamboo sax. More drawings of herons by Nicola on the cover. All very nice. Their two EP's would have worked well as two sides of a vinyl LP back when that was what you did. But I think the EP thing works well for them.


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