‘Gold or Dust’ - something rich and magical from Cocos Lovers(June 24, 2013)
A steadily developing vein of commonly-called alt-folk diffuses through British folk music. I’m not one for ring-fencing definitions but as alt-folk becomes more popular it may just have to accept that it’s yet one more branch of an enduring folk tree – and in this case it’s a breath-taking branch. I’m talking about ‘Gold or Dust’, the third album from Cocos Lovers, which proves yet again their distinctive musical amalgam that seamlessly blends a multiplicity of influences and styles to create something particularly rich and rather magical.
A supremely cohesive seven-piece they raise their music to life through poetic lyrics, explorative vocals and subtle intersecting harmonies built across inspirational melodies that both attract and intrigue. There’s a complex depth to this music that transcends its immediate attraction to lead you into an ever-widening gyre that sweeps you into an enthusiastic embrace of sound. To tap into this infatuation - listen to the tender idyll that is ‘Roots of the Willow’, the hook-laden ‘Walk Among the Ghosts’ or the flute-driven Celtic fantasy of ‘Dea Matrona’.
The idiosyncrasies readily engage while the unexpected holds you rapt – ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’ with its faintly unsettling lyrics choral sweep, saw and brass accents; the infectious Afro-edged, multi-layered rhythms of ‘Son of a Merchant’ or the perceptive lyric and sparkling melody of ‘The Spirit That Swallowed You Whole’.
‘Gold or Dust’ is a sumptuous feast - releases on Smugglers Records 22 July 2013 – I suggest you savour its delights.
On ‘Gold or Dust’ Cocos Lovers are Billy Glinn (bass guitar, guitar, vocals) Natasha Greenham (vocals, violin, saw, accordion, harmonica) Will Greenham (vocals, guitar, banjo) Nicola Vella-Burrows (vocals, flute) David Hatton (electric guitar) Phil Self (guitar, mandolin, banjo, vocals) Stewart Hughes (drums, percussion) and James Gow (trumpet) . Also playing on selected tracks are Joe Magill (bass guitar) and Owen Hewson (clarinet).
Reviewer: Tim Carroll