Friday 08 August 2003
The stadium-house trio Kosheen are fond of far-flung cultural references. Their name is an amalgam of the Japanese for "old" and "new", and the Kokopelli after whom their second album is named is the mysterious flute-playing figure found in petroglyphs of the long-extinct Anasazi indians of the American south-west, which makes it all the more surprising that their music should be so bereft of diverse ethnic input. In between the sequenced beats and fuzz-guitars of the electro-Goth anthem "Wish" and the trip-hop groove of "Blue Eyed Boy", there's little that doesn't derive from the most routine of Anglo-American sources. Musicians Markee Substance and Darren Decoder rely on the same kind of fusions of techno synth-lines and chunky fuzz-guitar chords that drive the slick widescreen-house sound of Apollo 440 or, on the humid instrumental "Swamp", the dub-psychedelic-rock of Death In Vegas. But when the slightly sour, astringent vocals of Sian Evans are added to the mix, the result on tracks like the new single "All In My Head" is more like Mel C backed by King Crimson: anthemic but turgid prog rock. Which is marginally better than the swaggering arena rock of "Wasting My Time", which reveals Kosheen to be the T'Pau of their day. Evans' lyrics are heavy on parental responsibility, the joys of the mother-child bond, and departing with dignity, but leave little lasting impression, while the relentless grind of ponderous riffing grows more wearisome with each song. There is a nicely syncopated marimba groove to the penultimate track, "Recovery", but it's far too little, far too late.
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