Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

Connan Mockasin

Caramel

2013-11-21

New Zealand has its very own Ariel Pink. Connan Mockasin, a mop-topped blonde "pop sprite" - who broke onto the scene with his first solo effort, 2010's Forever Dolphin Love - is the newest sensation in the world of weirdo psyche-funk. With Caramel, Mockasin comes across as a bizarrely seductive figure, each song oozing with undeniably sexy grooves and his accompanying voice that croons or growls, depending on the context. The fact that the album was self-recorded within a month's span in a Tokyo hotel room makes too much sense.

The record's middle stretch is a five part opus called "It's Your Body." It ebbs and flows, mostly encompassing the shimmering, soulful vibe found on the majority of the tracks, but on part three devolves into grinding, mutated guitar pitch bends that sound like a chainsaw run through a synthesizer. On part four and five, it slips back into the pristine, crisp white sheets covering Connan's hotel bed in the neon flower of Tokyo. Luckily, the inner space explored on Caramel is unique and arrestingly pretty enough to not come off as kitschy or sleazy. The tracks are slow burns, building upon slinky guitars dancing through thick soundscapes saturated with R&B sensibilities. With the help of Mockasin's falsetto and whispers, Caramel feels like an intimate, reconstructed funk album. And yeah, it totally does sound like caramel.

Recommended Tracks: #3 "I'm The Man, That Will Find You", #11 "I Wanna Roll With You"

Sigmund Steiger

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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