rumm— Coco and the
Having made waves with their last single, Coco
And The Bean are set to unleash a tidal wave with their new offering. Jim Byers gets washed away on the swell of the hip hop ocean.
Given that Edinburgh is a comparatively compact and traditionally conservative city. it hides a suprisingly healthy music scene beneath its picture-postcard facade. Coco And The Bean have been making music for the past six years at the forefront of a new generation of Edinburgh bands (the first wave numbering Finitribe. Botany 5 and The Chimes) that includes Suga Bullit and Blacka'nized.
Their first two singles. ‘Money‘ and ‘Talking With A No.6' released on
‘There is a scene in Edinburgh, but it’s not a scene with a capital “s” by any means. We’ve never tried to make it into something it’s not but Edinburgh’s only a wee place y’know, and everyone knows each other.’
Edinburgh indie Baghdad Radio. revealed an uptempo. funky rap style that owed much to their obvious love of hip hop. A third outing ‘Western
Ways'. their debut on London‘s Mantra Records. captured the band in a sweet. slo moshun. soul groove that oozed class and announced the arrival of a
band very much in the ascendance. The fact that the single was a downtempo track with eerie female vocals led to inevitable Portishead/trip hop comparisons that have (logged them ever since. ‘The people saying that we sound like Portishead are just looking at “Western Ways".' explains chief programmer and producer Taph.
‘They obviously haven't heard any of our other stuff.‘ (At this point. it should be noted that i managed to use the dreaded Portishead word in a review of the track.) ‘()ur inﬂuences stretch much further back titan stuff like Portishead.‘ he says. ‘\V"ve always been into stuff like funk. jazz. dub. reggae and swingbeat — styles that exist now and styles that go right back through Blue Note and into Northern Soul. Bttt basically. our roots have always been in hip hop and soul and what we‘ve tried to do is marry the two sounds together to produce our own style.‘
The release of last year's East (‘oast Project album. compiled by Joseph from Blacka'ni/ed on the Stereo MC‘s label. Natural Response. also played a key part in the Coco And The Bean story. The album. featuring cuts from local acts. including 3 Bag Brew. Freshly Squeezed and Suga Bullit.
created its own media hype and brought
Coco And The Bean: top deck masters
' lournalists running from London in a
desperate attetnpt to unearth a new Manchester/Bristol scene. ‘There is a scene in Edinburgh.‘ explains Taph. ‘but it‘s not a scene with a capital by any means. We've never tried to make it into something it‘s not but
- Edinburgh‘s only a wee place y‘know, '
and everyone knows each other.
‘The East Coast album was good because it helped promote the concept of there being a scene up here. but you’ve got to remember that we‘ve been making music since l99 I. Suga Bullit were doing stuffeven before that and Stevie Christie from Blacka‘nized was with Botany 5 — the links go way back.
‘Things are still pretty healthy though.‘ he admits. ‘not just in Edinburgh. but right through to Glasgow with people like NT. The Floorfreaks and the Blueprint guys.‘
As for the future. Coco And The Bean are currently pushing their new single. ‘Killing Time'. another sweet soul/hip hop fusion featuring singer Rosanne‘s haunting vocals. and working on tracks for their forthcoming album. (Jim ' Byers)
'Kil/ing 'Ii’nre' (Mun/m) is our on / 5 Jul. Saga Bullit ’p/av Till the Park [4 Jul.
Dar to be different
While in this country the term ‘tolk singer’ might easily be understood to mean someone singing an ancient traditional unaccompanied ballad, over in the States it means someone with an acoustic guitar singing a song oi personal revelation they wrote yesterday.
Bar Williams, still under 30, is the latest, and one of the best, in a long line of articulate, educated, introspective, poetically sensitive, spiritually questing temale singer/songwriters to emerge lrom the llorth American coiiee-house circuit, and returns to Britain this month with a new three-track CD and cassette.
ller lyrics are important. Always a writer, she moved from writing plays to songwriting in her early twenties,
and is conscious that she takes much
liar Williams: llorm iancles her;
ot the lam trom the ‘tolk/rock ot the 60s - Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Paul Simon, lion Maclean, Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell. that was the sort of music all around the house when i grew up.
‘l still admire them, and I’ve been supporting Joan Baez on tour this last
while, and learning a lot trom her, buti
suppose i tend to listen more now to other songwriters, who’ve become my tavourites. like Ferron. She’s a Canadian, 3 great singer and a tocused poet. She wrote a wonderful song called “Driver”. And there’s Victoria Williams, and then there’s a whole lotot Iexas singer/songwriters.’
iler highly regarded first album the Honesty Room, and the more polished second, Mortal City (production by Steven Miller who also produces Suzanne Vega and Jane Siberry) otten ieatures a band sound with heavyweights like singer John Prine and American-lush fiddle diva Eileen lvers, but she’ll tour here solo this time, although she will ‘probabiy be back with a band next year.’
Keep in touch with her movements, and join the busy discussion groups on her proiiilc lyrical output by visiting her home page on the World Wide Web (the internet is her hobby) on http://www.panix.com/~tnott/dar/ (llorman Chalmers)
Dar Wllllarns plays Edinburgh’s Tron Ceilidh House, Wed 24 July, and Glasgow’s ltlng nits, firms 1 August.
Edinburgh‘s ldlBWllll describe their tape as a "‘ ' ‘mediocre taste' of what they're capable of. which seems just a tad disingenuous. The band are a four-piece in the traditional line-up of voice. guitar. bass and drums. From being a slightly velvety ‘Sweet Nuthin' derivative. ‘Suicide’. the first track on the tape. soon emerges as far more in the style of Bluetones. especially in the vocal and harmony lines. Things rough up as the song progresses. and the guitar scuzzes up slightly. although a bit more brutality in the tentative bass playing wouldn‘t go amiss. The shouty response parts of the far more fuzz- pedalling and ramshackle 'Paranoid‘ show they‘ve been checking out some of Bis‘s faves; not that they sound anything like the aforementioned. you understand. There‘s no reason why this lot shouldn‘t be on the
[it 't’li lllg Session.
Another four-piece. same line-up. different noise. Desert Bose. also from the capital. steal quite blatantly from Buffalo Springfield's ‘For What It‘s Worth‘ in the middle of ‘Family'. but for the most part. their cassette paints them as followers of the kind of AOR kind of MOR kind of pop presented by Crowded House and the like. Slightly overly wordy. which isn't necessarily a bad thing. unless. as here. the words aren‘t all that interesting. Nicky Campbell sort of stuff.
‘Road Rage‘ is the timely-titled kick-off to The Vision‘s demo. a dense garage guitar swamp with epically echoing vocals. The songs may be slightly too long. the dynamics not justifying the instrumental breaks. but. with precise application of the editing shears. not too bad. ‘Plastic Population‘ revisits ‘Dedicated Follower Of Fashion' lyrical territory with a slightly Roses guitar spin. but like the preceding track. is let down by the one-dimensionality of the music.
Glasgow‘s Sunhoese win this week's design award for the care taken over their cassette's packaging. ‘80 Late' is a pretty lovely late-night weary croon. spartan and lonely. Janine Fox's understated vocal’s perfectly judged. The spartan sound that Sunhouse have captured on a 4-track seems to suit them well; ‘Feeling' both echoes and chimes intimately. (Damien Love)
The List 12-25 Jul 1996 37