The fact that this second helping from Kent outfit Cocos Lovers’ was recorded in a converted caravan somewhat gives a nod to their travelling ways, as they seemingly collect fellow travelling musicians like the current collects debris, multipling in number over the summer months to encompass almost double their already large though by no means wasted collaborative scale.
Elephant Lands was initially released back in July on Smugglers Records, and following up Johannes it leads us to a different continent, away from the debut’s South America and this time to the arid plains of Africa. Opener and titletrack ‘Elephant Lands’ echoes Paul Simon’s Graceland and its rhythmic pull, while flautist Nicola leads the melody with accompanying chanted male/female harmonies that add an infectious air to proceedings. A vibe which really doesn’t seem to tire for the 60 minute run of this colourful second helping from the band.
Opening up as an atmospheric, reverb laden cacaphony, ‘Elephant Lands’ masks itself before expanding and bleeding through genres and styles to become a wholly carnivalesque, celebratory experimental folk album. Perhaps most interesting of all however is the way in which Cocos Lovers flit from the hurried to the calm, the rhythmic to the melodic without a shadow of doubt or sense of trepidation, and the album succeeds entirely on this self assurance. Songs built upon neatly plucked banjos, winding fiddle accompaniment and boy/girl harmonies that retain a wholesome and “in the moment” feel throughout, make way for the lullabyish ‘Yellow’, a somewhat ode to the sun, towards the album’s close. In other instances ‘Fortuna”s repetitive lyrics and cyclical structure become a mantra of sorts, while even the slightly more downtempo ‘Love is Not Like Roses’ has an infectious undercurrent and much going on rhythmically to keep those toes tapping ’til the album rolls to a close. While ‘Barcelona’ begins as a lamentful string arrangement before racing away with itself; a spagetti western soundtrack with a Tarantino feel about it.
Cocos Lovers are a band of huge scale and huge sound whose appeal instead of being seen as a melting pot of too much choice, actually appears just the right dosage making their compositions a heady concoction of something for everyone.
Video: A selection of new and older favourites
Bow and Arrow
Time to Stand
A lovely video from a couple of years ago performing out of the back of their van at Secret Garden Party.