After hearing Noah's Ark, any concerns about CocoRosie becoming too tasteful or straightforward after the widespread critical acclaim for their debut album, La Maison de Mon Reve, can be put to rest. If anything, the album errs in the opposite direction: alternately rambling and hypnotic, it's much more somber and insular (despite the presence of such kindred spirits as Devendra Banhart and Antony of Antony & the Johnsons) than the duo's subversively angelic-sounding debut. La Maison de Mon Reve certainly had a dark undercurrent that added considerable sting to its sweetness, but it's much more prominent on Noah's Ark; sad, eerie lyrics like "K-Hole"'s "All of the aborted babies will turn into little Bambies" are paired with equally spooky, mournful music instead of the deceptively light tones of the group's first album.
Like two young women gripped by a Frida Kahlo fixation, Bianca and Sierra Casady drape themselves in traditional costume - emphasising their half-Cherokee roots - and adorn their anti-folk sound with vibrant blues, French hip-hop and opera. Their second album is a fragmented picture of love and death, full of whinnying horses and whining vocals. So knowingly arty it could be sponsored by the Saatchi gallery, it irritates more than it charms.
CocoRosie's Noah's Ark arrives a year after their debut album La Maison De Mon Rev, an album that saw estranged sisters Bianca and Sierra Casady reuniting randomly in France to record a tiny album of brittle acoustics and warbling vocals, whose fidelity and instrumental skills exposed a duo still shaking off years of separation. That album was a surprisingly polarizing one, counting roughly the same number of detractors as it did out-and-out fans. I tended to fall more in line with the latter, for despite its inconsistencies and lulls, it was shot through with enough oddball lyrical imagery and jagged folk moves to warrant repeated listenings.