Noah’s Ark

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Imagine any kind of random sound or instrument, and there’s about a 75% chance that you’ll hear it somewhere on Noah’s Ark. This is the kind of album where kitchen sink cacophony somehow gets traslated into pastoral beauty by way of harps, drum machines, samples of ringing phones and cat meows, even French rapper beatboxing. The two sisters who make up CocoRosie, Sierra and Bianca Casady, are equally adept at spinning socially conscious lyrics out of the heavily abstract. Their most powerful statement comes through on the feminist ode to Pocahontas: “Lead canoes collide inside/Pocahontas came to me in a reverie/war paint and tobacco stains/piss on the earth/a pile of dead men.” Elsewhere, the duo tells tales of ruined relationships and biblical disasters, the most sinister and disturbing being “Armageddon,” an indictment of consumer culture and racism.

The sisters place all of their songs within a dialectic: the ancient and the modern. Some songs featuring cutting edge instruments are recorded painfully lo-fi, while other tracks are wrapped in turn of the century blues phrasing. It’s this sort of bending of time and place that gives the album its otherworldly quality. With most of the freak folk movement concerned with exploring San Francisco’s alternate realities, it’s nice to hear experiments beyond the immediate terra firma.

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