CocoRosie’s fifth album Tales of a Grass Widow is a magical explosion of world influences, haunting vocals and thought provoking lyrics. Tales of a Grass Widow blends a huge amount of influences into such a compact work of art.
Tales of a Grass Widow is to be released on May 27 through City Slang. The album features 11 tracks and was produced in association with Valgeir Sigurðsson. The songs in Tales of a Grass Widow touch on CocoRosie’s personal response to the group’s feminist mission. Bianca said: “We are burning with optimism. I feel a global awakening to the realisation that we have been comfortable in a social prison for thousands of years. We, women and men, oppressed by patriarchal views and systems with religions who despise women.
“You can find the phrase “Eve The Whore” in almost every western language. It rolls off the tongue without a second thought, without acknowledging how religions have blamed women and their bodies and their sex on the fall of “man”.”
Tales of a Grass Widow is a wonderful record full of inspiration and fantastic musical compositions that lend the album to become one long, mystical adventure. The album has a feel to it that captures the imagination and transports it to a world full of magical and awe-inspiring things. It has a very back to nature feel – everything feels fresh. The world music influences allow Tales of a Grass Widow to capture the essence of a vagabond lifestyle.
The album features recent singles Gravediggress and After the Afterlife. Tears for Animals is the second track on the record and has a brilliant slow tempo and entrancing beat. The male vocals at the start as so soft and welcoming. Child Bride sets a slightly darker tone to the album compared to the previous tracks, After the Afterlife and Tears for Animals. Child Bride has wonderful African influenced drums heard solemnly in the background while the vocals are cracked and broken, made to sound like a vulnerable young girl being forced to marry at a young age. The lyrics, “It’s hard to tell whose little girl am I/The man with the dark eyes/ Will take me home tonight/I wash my body five years grown…” really set the scene this song – a scared girl entering into an arranged marriage against her will.
Broken Chariot is another track on the album that captures the listener. Again, strong world influences seep through with pan-pipes being heard. Broken Chariot is a strange song with inaudible vocals but wonderfully pieced together instruments. It’s almost meditative. It’s also the shortest track on the album which indicates it might be used as a breather between the heavier numbers.
On the other side, tracks like End of Time take on a completely different persona. End of Time has a particularly strong pop girl band feel. The drum beat, bass riffs and synth sounds really lead this song into the pop genre. The vocals in End of Time are not sung but rapped. However, it’s so well produced and mixed that it will instantly become one of your favourites.
Towards the end of Tales of a Grass Widow, there’s a track called Roots of my Hair. It contains softly played pan-pipes, seductive sitar and innocent vocals. It’s got everything. It transports you to the hills in Nepal, for example, where you could sit in meditation – a place where patriarchal systems do not exist. It just has that open-minded, spiritual feel to it. It’s the best track on the album by far.
CocoRosie really know how to produce an album that opens the mind, plays with your senses and leaves you fully satisfied. CocoRosie are not just two sisters making music, they are two sisters with a message for society. And what better way to portray this message than through clever, world influenced music that is bound to capture your imagination and heart. Tales of a Grass Widow is an album that is not to be missed in 2013.