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Boy Meets Girl In Romantic Debut
Celina Murphy, 18 Oct 2012
As much as we all enjoyed the retrospectively glaring homosexual vocal sparring of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley (he’s not? Well, kiss my grits…), there’s something about that age-old combination of the male and female voice that’s just perfect for love songs.
For Dublin alt. folk fivesome Cocophone, the brainchild of songwriters Fin Divilly and Freya Monks, the spellbinding alloy that happens when boy meets girl is always the star of the show. Divilly and Monks have the kind of voices that simply melt into each other when the melody calls for it, but the starry-eyed crooners are each capable of packing their own punch, too.
Thankfully, debut album Reservoir gives them the opportunity to do both. Tracks like winding guitar ditty ‘Hollow Tree’ and rocked-up retro number ‘Special Offers II’ split singing duties right down the middle, and while the stripped-back ‘On Sad Plains’ shines the spotlight on Monks’ mournful purr, ‘A Borrowed Walk’ makes full use of Divilly’s creaky falsetto.
Produced by Gavin Glass, Reservoir echoes the experimental spirit of bands like The xx, Portishead and Fleetwood Mac. Swerving between subdued, unplugged folk and eerie, classically-tinged pop, it’s a highly romantic affair, but one that cleverly avoids cliché.
Those showstopping harmonies are bolstered by clanging percussion on ‘Rivers’, plodding piano on closer ‘Selling Bodies’ and some very thrilling strings on ‘These Lungs, Our Oceans’.
Lyrically too, Reservoir is something of a head-scratcher. Cocophone’s words are generally open to interpretation, and once in a while, proudly provocative (“I am like a river/ I am not well-read,” Divilly muses, “I hope to run a course/ by filling up my head”).
One complaint: for all Cocophone’s orchestral risk-taking, their heartfelt serenades aren’t all that memorable. The effortlessly catchy ‘Seeing Daydreams’ is a clear exception, flagged by some chiming ‘ooh-ooh-oohs’ and stopping just short of a full-on freak-out guitar moment.