With 2007’s The Adventures Of Ghosthorse And Stillborn, sisters Bianca and Sierra Casady of CocoRosie pushed their fractured electro-art to the brink, precariously and dramatically dancing along the edge of experimental oblivion—making for a compellingly bizarre record. The duo then signed to Sub Pop and leapt into the abyss. With the group’s most diverse potpourri of styles and sounds yet, Grey Oceans is an indulgently individual album that’s more mental than musical. Granted, CocoRosie has always been better processed by brains rather than ears, but the enchanting, dreamlike atmosphere of previous efforts was sufficiently captivating to ride through occasional awkward arrangements or odd vocal effects.
Grey Oceans isn’t short on tracks both catchy and cerebral: “The Moon Asked The Crow” combines baroque piano noodling with a thumping, body-moving hip-hop beat, while “Lemonade” mashes together eerie, dreary techno balladry with a softly orchestral chorus. Other songs get a little too creative for their own good—“Smokey Taboo” begins with a hypnotizing, wispy Eastern trance before Bianca busts in with weird, nonsensical rapping; “Hopscotch” takes a goofy, toy-piano ragtime ditty and turns it into a racing, wailing mishmash. Some will have the patience and tolerance for searching repeatedly through Grey Oceans to uncover moments of thoughtful beauty. But they’re a little harder to find than they should be.