Noah's Ark (album)

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Noah's Ark
Studio album by CocoRosie
Released September 13, 2005
Genre Freak folk
Label Touch and Go Records
CocoRosie chronology
La maison de mon rêve
(2004)
Noah's Ark
(2005)
The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn
(2007)

Noah's Ark is the second album by sister duo CocoRosie. It was released on September 13, 2005 by Touch and Go Records. In addition to the group's two core members, Bianca and Sierra Casady, the album includes collaborations with a number of other musicians including Antony Hegarty, Devendra Banhart and Spleen.[1]

Background[edit]

Bianca and Sierra Casady are the sister act behind CocoRosie, whose name originates from the nicknames given by their mother; "Coco" (Bianca) and "Rosie" (Sierra). The sisters spent their childhood years living throughout the Southwestern United States and Hawaii.[2] They developed an interest in music at an early age and enjoyed making up songs as children.[2][3] Collectively, the sisters have a vast background. Bianca, who worked as a model at one time, sang and wrote songs.[3] Sierra, who once wanted to go into the Army, pursued classical opera throughout high school.[2][3]

Although there is only a 2 year age difference between them, the sisters were not close as children.[2] After many years apart, Bianca joined Sierra in Paris in 2003.[2] It was at this time that the sisters came together to form CocoRosie and create music, referred to by some as, "freak folk". Their first album, La Maison de Mon Reve, was created in an apartment in Paris and released in 2004 on Touch and Go Records.[3]

Recording[edit]

The album features both sisters on vocals with more traditional instruments such as guitars and harps layered over a multitude of unconventional items cast in the role of instruments. The song, "Bear Hides and Buffalo" for example, includes a loop of horses neighing and cats meowing over a toy piano hook. Upon the release of Noah’s Ark, Bianca described the group’s sound as "sort of an eclectic montage," saying, "[w]e float around between a few different instruments and use a bunch of unconventional percussion things. Like toys." [4]

The album was compiled in many different locations as the sisters traveled in the wake of their previous album. The pursuit of intimate venues lead to, as Sierra put it, "pulling over on the side of the road and just recording in a field, or taking a moment in a barn in the South of France, or a studio in Brooklyn." [4]

Collaborations[edit]

The album features contributions from a variety of other musicians. Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons provides vocals and plays piano on "Beautiful Boyz", an ode to French novelist, playwright, and convicted felon Jean Genet, while Devendra Banhart lends his singing voice (via phone) to "Brazilian Sun".[5][6] The opening rhymes of "Bisounours" come courtesy of French rapper Spleen.[5]

The album also lists Greg Rogove, Diane Cluck, Jana Hunter and Ardzen as "contributing artists."

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[7]
Drowned in Sound 8/10 stars[8]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[9]
NME 6/10 stars[10]
Pitchfork Media (3.4/10)[11]
Q 4/5 stars[12]
Stylus Magazine A−[13]
Spin (F)[14]
Uncut 4/5 stars[15]
Under the Radar 9/10 stars[16]

Noah’s Ark was well received by critics domestically and internationally. MusicOMH London writer Michael Hubbard wrote, "Noah's Ark has a dreamlike quality to it." [17] Sarah Peters, a former music editor and staff writer for LAS wrote, "Symbolically, the guiding light is important to all who have journeyed on Noah's Ark, and CocoRosie have presented a lesson in love, through hardship, that may not have been as powerful otherwise." [18] In comparison to the sisters' previous work, writer Johnny Ray Huston of the San Francisco Bay Guardian noted, "Their new album, Noah's Ark (Touch and Go), has a more restless feel than their debut – the scratchy, tiny, Victrola-sounding vocals of La Maison sometimes give way to a more naturalistic recording style." [19] Another review came from Heather Phares, writer for allmusic, who commented on the album’s vibe in particular. "There's a lot of power in the album's darkness, particularly on the apocalyptic campfire singalong "Armageddon"" [20]

Although some of the album's reviews were positive, some critics disagreed claiming, "Noah's Ark is more hypnotic and infiltrating than their enchanting (but short shelf-lived) debut, Le Maison de Mon Reve, but ultimately less magical." [20] Other viewpoints were expressed about the contributing artists on the album and how "…the best offerings inevitably arrive in the presence of Antony and Devendra Banhart, whose guest appearances enhance and possibly upstage their lovely hosts." [18]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "K-Hole" – 4:10
  2. "Beautiful Boyz" – 4:37
  3. "South 2nd" – 4:09
  4. "Bear Hides and Buffalo" – 4:14
  5. "Tekno Love Song" – 3:54
  6. "The Sea Is Calm" – 3:39
  7. "Noah's Ark" – 4:13
  8. "Milk" – 0:34
  9. "Armageddon" – 4:04
  10. "Brazilian Sun" – 4:38
  11. "Bisounours" – 4:06
  12. "Honey or Tar" – 2:08
  13. "Oh Sailor – 3:50 (Bonus Track Australian CD)

Charts[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
position
French Albums Chart[21] 62
Dutch Music Charts[22] 98

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Noah's Ark album info". Touch and Go / Quarterstick Records. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e FERNANDA EBERSTADT (2008-07-06). "Twisted Sisters". nytimes.com. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d "CocoRosie Biography". aol.com. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Matt Walton (2005-09-08). "cocorosie session". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "CocoRosie Noah's Ark CD". CD Universe. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  6. ^ Petri Liukkonen (2008). "Jean Genet (1910-1986)". Kuusankosken kaupunginkirjasto. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  7. ^ Allmusic review
  8. ^ Drowned in Sound review
  9. ^ The Guardian review
  10. ^ NME review
  11. ^ Pitchfork Media review
  12. ^ Q review
  13. ^ Stylus Magazine review
  14. ^ Spin review
  15. ^ Uncut review
  16. ^ Under the Radar review
  17. ^ Michael Hubbard (2005-09-12). "Cocorosie-Noah's Ark (Touch & Go)". MusicOHM. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  18. ^ a b Sarah Peters (2005-09-12). "CocoRosie Noah’s Ark.". lasmagazine. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  19. ^ Johnny Ray Huston (2005-09-12). "Sisterhood is weirdly powerful.". sfbg. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  20. ^ a b Heather Phares (2005-8). "Noah’s Ark CocoRosie.". allmusic. Retrieved 9 July 2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  21. ^ Steffen Hung. "CocoRosie - Noah's Ark". lescharts.com. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  22. ^ Steffen Hung. "CocoRosie - Noah's Ark". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2012-03-03.