CocoRosie – Tales of a Grass Widow
It’s been three years since the Casady sisters’ last outing. Has anything changed? They’ve certainly come a long way since La maison de mon rêve’s Paris bathroom, but CocoRosie’s newest record shows new strengths even since 2010’s Grey Oceans. While not entirely shedding their quirky gypsy stylings, Tales of A Grass Widow uses the characteristic tinkle of toys and pitch-warped vocal effects as an asset rather than a gimmick.
Flexing what were previously disparate (and to some ears discordant) elements, the duo now proffer an accomplished, emotive LP. There is no clutter here; the warbly organ on Villain is considered, not showy. End of Time has an engaging hip-hop strut that carries, rather than obscures, the trademark exoticism; likewise Gravedigress is fittingly armed with a snarling beatbox vocal. Tribal panpipes lend several tracks an earthy flavour, in line with the girls’ penchant for atmosphere and storytelling. Whatever they might have traded in youthful abandon, they more than compensate for with a newfound cohesion. [George Sully]