Archie Bronson Outfit - Coconut
Nick Lewis 28/02/2010
Having managed to establish themselves as the Led Zeppelin of the noughties over the course of two albums, Archie Bronson Outfit have decided now is the time for psychedelic cosmic space music. The super-cool, NME flavoured stoner-blues-rock has been replaced with cavernous plate reverbs, mesmerising delays and two-tone drones; the cocoons of which obscure delightfully anxious pop songs and driving Feel Good Hit of the Summer stoner rock anthems alternately.
Each song is produced to sound like an echo of the song it originally was, sometimes hiding exquisite melodies and catchy floorfillers. In fact, it's easy to imagine a song like Bite It & Believe It as an aching acoustic ballad - instead it's swathed in delays and driven by a two-step drumbeat and fuzz bass beneath a noisy drone. Similarly, Sam Windett's vocals are covered in distortion and reverb for every song, making him sound like a nervous Jim Morrison pronouncing epithets from a mountain through a megaphone. His delivery is so anxious he makes what I think to be the lyrics of Wild Strawberries (it's hard to tell) “We walked / we walked / we walked in the country” sound like a Kafka-esque nightmare as opposed to the pleasant Sunday afternoon stroll he appears to be describing.
Coconut is a record of many such juxtapositions: the alternation between pop and stoner-rock, the nervous delivery of said pop songs, along with the noise that blankets them and disconcerting contrasts between lyrics and the music - Hunt You Down is musical sugar, the sentiment is anything but. The only negative is that sometimes it feels as if they're hiding their songs, as if they're embarrassed by their new-found pop sensibilities rather than having just discovered each one in the middle of an extra-terrestrial LSD transmission as they'd probably rather have you believe.
No matter, it's still a great sound drawing in 60s psychedelia in the sometimes Syd Barrett-like You Have a Right to a Mountain Life One Up On Yourself and the latin percussion of Harness (Bliss), stoner rock in Magnetic Warrior, and even disco new wave on the Cure-like Chunk
It's not a classic record by any means, it's not the sort of thing you sit down and really listen to; the drones and indistinct vocals can make it difficult to concentrate on, but the ambition and willingness to experiment are laudable. Archie Bronson Outfit are definitely worth keeping an eye on.