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Maroon Cocoon

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Album Review

On his third solo album, Maroon Cocoon, Bart Davenport scales back the wide-ranging classic rock sound of his previous album, Game Preserve, and delivers a very intimate and personal record. The majority of the songs feature Davenport's achingly pretty vocals with only a lone acoustic guitar for accompaniment. In fact, he plays almost all the instruments on the record himself. Co-producer Sam Flax Keener provides the occasional sax and recorder, Greg Moore adds harmony vocals to "Following a Red Balloon," and Tony Sevener does some drum machine programming here and there. Not surprisingly, the record is very relaxed and restrained. Davenport's love of classic rock seems to have been boiled down to an affection for soft rock groups like Bread and America and singer/songwriters like Henry Gross, Leo Sayer, and James Taylor. The acoustic tunes definitely call this era to mind, especially the vocal harmony-rich opener "Welcome to the Show" and the JT-channeling "Paper Friend." The songs that are fleshed out with more instruments ("One Reason" with its slinky rhythm, processed guitar sounds, and cheesy synths; "Into Music" with a rinky-dink drum machine, jazzy guitar chords, and Sweet Baby James vocals; and "Clara," which sails along nicely with a bossa and Belle & Sebastian feel until it is derailed by an ill-advised bout of scatting) are no less '70s-sounding and wouldn't seem out of place on Frampton's I'm in You. At its best on the bopping "Finishing School" and "LA Girls," the album comes close to the exciting sound Davenport had on his last record; however, the rest of the time the album feels like a step back and away from the near brilliance of Game Preserve. In fact, Maroon Cocoon feels half finished, like a batch of demos for a great record.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Having spent a large chunk of the 1990s as part of the Loved Ones and, later, the Kinetics, Bart Davenport struck out on his own in the early 2000s, drawing from any number of soft rock, classic rock, and singer/songwriter influences (Thin Lizzy, Al Stewart, and James Taylor, just to name a few) in formulating his silky-smooth, eminently laid-back indie pop tunes. His self-titled debut album was released on Antenna Farm Records in 2002, and he released two more albums on that label (Game Preserve...
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Maroon Cocoon, Bart Davenport
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