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Tales of a GrassWidow [Digipak]
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Rating
Album: Tales of a GrassWidow [Digipak]
# Song Title   Time
1)    After the Afterlife
2)    Tears for Animals
3)    Child Bride
4)    Broken Chariot
5)    End of Time
6)    Harmless Monster
7)    Gravediggress
8)    Far Away
9)    Roots of My Hair
10)    Villain
11)    Poison/Devil's Island
 
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Audio Mixer: Nico Kalwill.
  • Recording information: Greenhouse Studios, Reykjavik; Lost Girls Studios.
  • Over the years, CocoRosie slowly drifted away from their lo-fi roots and toward sounds that emphasize the sophistication of their songs. On Tales of a GrassWidow, Sierra and Bianca Casady polish away some of the more grating edges of their previous album, Grey Oceans, but these songs aren't all sweetness and light: "After the Afterlife" begins the album with deceptive delicacy before synths take the track in a darker and more mysterious direction. Indeed, this is some of CocoRosie's most electronic-based music, in large part because the Casadys worked with producer Valgeir Sigurdsson, whose Scandinavian folktronic flair brings out the similarities in the sisters' music to Bj”rk and M£m. Like those artists, CocoRosie make music that sounds ancient and futuristic at the same time, and the way they contrast and juxtapose those elements are vital to Tales of a GrassWidow's wounded but lovely songs. There is a lot of grief in this album, particularly on "Child Bride," where Bianca whispers trepidation-filled lyrics as Sierra wails in the distance, or on "Gravediggress," a rueful duet between a young girl (Bianca) and an old woman (Sierra) who may or may not be the same person. Songs such as these, as well as the surprisingly eldritch "Harmless Monster," where Bianca seems to murmur "I was an angel/Someone's sweet thing" from deep inside a haunted house, showcase not just CocoRosie's increasingly refined sounds but also the more nuanced ways they express their feminism. Despite GrassWidow's overall somber tone -- which is exemplified beautifully on "Broken Chariot"'s mournful shakuhachi flutes -- the Casadys do allow some hard-earned respites on tracks like the harp-driven "Roots of My Hair" and the equally eerie and catchy "Villain," which proves that the duo can write a pop song (granted, a pop song with harpsichord and violin breaks) when they wish to. Tales of a GrassWidow may not be as overtly challenging as Grey Oceans, but it offers some of CocoRosie's most focused, accomplished songs yet. ~ Heather Phares
Professional Reviews
CMJ - "Two of the most interesting tracks on the album, 'Tearz For Animals,' and the closer 'Poison,' feature Antony Hegarty..."

Q (Magazine) (p.96) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he Casadys' knack for sifting vivid, dreamy songs out of harrowing subject matter is no less potent here....Spellbinding stuff."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.88) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[W]ith stronger ideas, more concise beats and more tranquil atmosphere, which all comes together for a dreamily hexed 'Far Away.'"

Pitchfork (Website) - "GRASS WIDOW highlights CocoRosie's most practical songwriting, with vocals that are often refreshingly natural and fluent."
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