I Blame Coco - The Constant
Oh dear. On paper this album looks like a surefire loser: 80s-flavoured pop tunes by a pretty princess, daughter of famous has-been rock star; former Burberry model; something that unforgiving crunchy-guitar lovin' girls like me would HATE. Of course. Rip her to shreds.
Yet The Constant, debut album from I Blame Coco, is really good. Catchy, infectious, clever and fun. Damn it! It may be pretty synthy, and there are times when Eliot Paulina Sumner (aka Coco) sounds like her famous dad with a head cold. Yet her ice-cool androgynous vocals are sinuous and stand-offish, such a nice change from the ridiculous histrionics or OTT vocal acrobatics of Flo and Marina. Album opener 'Selfmachine' leaps out at you and defies you not to be seduced, zipping along, dreamy and sweet, and her clever lyrics make for a fun singalong: "I’m not a human if you say I’m not / I’m not a human if my engines lock / And this motor that you call my heart / Is another machine that will stop."
The killer tunes keep rolling by. The excellent 'Spirit Golden' you will know from its healthy radio play, and the unabashedly fun 'Please Rewind' will have you grinning from ear to ear: "When the beats stop sometimes I think I'm dead." And the creepy 'Party Bag' mixes dark imagery with a dizzy sparkplug melody that weaves its way round Sumner's confident vocals: "Who mixed up the blood with the red wine tonight? / Who put the sugar in the saltshaker?" Moodier songs like the lovely 'Summer Rain' and titchy 'The Constant' are in sharp contrast to the heady giddiness of the opening tracks and prove without a doubt that young Sumner Jr. has all the makings of a promising tunesmith.
'Caesar' is the only real letdown. The song is excellent: Sumner's vocals are spitfire sure, the music furious and the production sparse and edgy ("Now who holds the show / Will be Caesar / You can even have it written on your T-shirt") but pop pixie Robyn's squealing vocals slice through the chorus like a dull blade marring what could otherwise have been the best track on the album.
I Blame Coco has come up trumps, succeeding in spite of her parentage. Maybe having a famous dad helped some, but it's pretty certain from listening to this impressive debut that Coco is in the driver's seat, firmly in charge of her musical route. If she fails she will have no-one to blame but herself.