Yes, this album is over two years old. Since it’s technically the most recent release from the artist in question, I’m going to rule this one a valid choice. So there, my site my rules, neener neener et cetera.
Now. I feel the need to provide backstory on this one.
Friend Wonderduck and I trade YouTube links from time to time. (Okay, he’s much much better about it than I am.) Usually it’s to a piece of music we each think the other might find relevant to our interests. So, a while back he sent me a link to a track by The Sound of Arrows, one which is strongly reminiscent of the Pet Shop Boys. The song was okay but didn’t quite sell me on the band. Out of curiosity I clicked on some of those related links that YouTube provides. And I ended up listening to a song called “Shoot the Bullet” which The Sound of Arrows produced for an artist who goes by the name, Queen of Hearts.
That I bought her EP and then her full debut album in rapid order might tell you what you need to know about Cocoon, but it wouldn’t be playing fair to leave it at that, now would it?
Up to this point in our little weekly review project I’ve been showcasing artists with some kind of previous track record that people are likely to be familiar with. I can’t tell you “this is (or isn’t) like her last album” so if you pick up a song or the EP or this album, what are you getting yourself into? Dance music (for the most part), of the electronic variety, with a strong and clear vocal presence right up front. While a lot of electronica acts hire a woman to sing and then bury her voice under synthesizers and drum beats and effects, Queen of Hearts is the focus here. This is her show, and we’re invited.
The album opens with The Arrival EP’s closing track, “Freestyle,” and follows that up with “Neon.” It’s a strong start, and the head-bopping toe-tapping energy rolls on, song after song, through “Like a Drug” and “It Isn’t Enough.”
It isn’t until the halfway mark, 7 tracks into the 14 track run of the album, that the tempo calms down for “Surrender” and then the memorable and marvelous “Warrior.” Afterward, “Shoot the Bullet” finally shows up, a reminder of where this whole journey started (it was The Arrival‘s opening number) and still one of the high points here.
Toward the end I do find that some songs don’t quite gel for me. Honestly, I’d be amazed to find fourteen entire tracks on one album that really “wow” me, so this isn’t a serious knock against Cocoon. Besides, you have to stick around for “Overcome By the Rhythm” and the closer, “Tears in the Rain.”
Now, if you didn’t wander off when I said “dance music” and “electronica” earlier, if I’ve piqued your interest at all, then let me tell you: Go get this record. It has four songs I absolutely love, several more that I play quite frequently, and really only one track, “Suicide,” I could do without (more due to lyrical content than any problem with the song’s other attributes, and that’s mostly a quirk on my part).
Anyway. Go forth and acquire. You’ll thank me later.
Oh, and then go pick up The Arrival EP, or at least “Where Are You Now?”. Just sayin’.