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CocoRosie channels ghosts of bygone era

Matthew Solarski | Thursday, October 14, 2004

Like a whisper from a rickety old Victrola or a ghost, enigmatic Parisians CocoRosie has arrived to ensorcell listeners with a penchant for the old with “La Maison de Mon Reve.” Comprised of sisters Bianca and Sierra Cassady, CocoRosie concoct bizarre hymns from another era with sparse ballads that seep into the subconscious despite their fragility. Those who tire of the increasing predictability of indie rock in this century will do well to embrace this gem, which resonates with a freshness – however paradoxically – of centuries well past.Sounding like Edith Piaf on helium, the sisters pirouette through 12 delicate tracks on this, their lovely debut. One of the album’s most uniquely affecting tracks, “Candyland,” showcases the unlikely combination of plaintive mandolin against a backdrop of jarring electronic children’s toys. Sierra’s opera-trained soprano rises up into the mix to deliver the album’s most deliriously haunting moment.As the story goes, Bianca and Sierra found themselves holed-up in a 19th-century Paris apartment, reluctant to communicate after several years apart. They at last found an inroad into one another’s lives – music, naturally – and began producing the idiosyncratic songs found on “La Maison,” whose full title translates most fittingly to “The House of My Dream.”The sisters underscore their turn-of-the-century vocal styling with the strangest assortment of instruments and non-instruments – among them, a jackhammer, an old-fashioned popcorn popper, a Fisher Price electronic cash register and the sound of teeth brushing. Most of this instrumentation contrasts sharply with the pleasant guitar and vocals, a juxtaposition which some may find refreshingly synergetic while others may find it annoyingly off-putting. While certainly not for everyone, “La Maison de Mon Reve” should delight open-minded casual listeners and entrance those who give the Cassady sisters the chance to work their unique magic.