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Play Drums + Bass

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Album Review

Staying true to their minimalist formula of bass, drums, and vocals, C.O.C.O. adheres to the less-is-more, sloppy creed of K Records with Play Drum and Bass. Olivia Ness plucks the bass and rocks the mic urgently like Debbie Harry or Belinda Carlisle at a basement party, while Dub Narcotic Sound System's Chris Sutton funks up the beats and adds icing to the cake by yelling " yeah" and "woo!" eagerly into the overheads. Just as before, it's a delightfully raw, polyrhythmic jamboree. There hasn't been much of a musical progression made since their debut album seven years ago, but when you consider the overabundance of chamber pop bands that include glockenspiels, harmoniums, violins, and kitchen sinks in their orchestration in 2007, C.O.C.O.'s simplicity sounds more refreshing than ever before. Ness is at her best when she doesn't try to force her vocals (Randy Jackson would likely label her "pitchy") and shows off her most sultry work to date with the soulful, dub ballad "High Low." Even when she belts it out, the fact that she sometimes goes sharp somehow adds to the charm of it all. Sutton even takes the lead on two tracks with his lackadaisical punky twang (think Billy Corgan meets Stephen Malkmus) and breaks up the disc with the faster "We Gotta Right" and uber-snide "Ess.Ay." The production is top-notch, showcasing the distortion-heavy drums and in-the-pocket bass that make for some of the most danceable indie jams since Tones on Tail's "Go." Since the instrumentation is primarily the same throughout — give or take some tambourine, alternate percussion, and backing vocals — the songs run together a bit, but it's wonderful to see that the duo's staying true to themselves and while doing so, they've created their best album to date.

Customer Reviews

Change singers...

I ALMOST really liked this album but it is ruined by the boring and amateur voice of the lead singer. If you can get past the sound of someone singing with a nose plug on, go ahead and get it.


Formed: 2000 in Olympia, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

C.O.C.O. is the result of two funk-loving roommates, Olivia Ness (vocals, bass) and Chris Sutton (vocals, drums), deciding to create something new out of their love for the old-school grooves of Sly & the Family Stone, the Meters, and E.S.G. Sutton had already been playing bass for Dub Narcotic Sound System for a few years when he and Ness formed C.O.C.O. in 2000. Ness, meanwhile, had only taught herself to play bass a year before (and had previously put those newfound skills to use in now-defunct...
Full Bio
Play Drums + Bass, C.O.C.O.
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