Connan Mockasin - Caramel

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  • Connan Mockasin takes in everything from FM soft rock to the fried psychedelia of Syd Barrett, crafting music whose reference points are familiar yet hard to pin down. This makes the Kiwi singer one of the more unlikely signings to Erol Alkan's Phantasy Sound label. His sound hasn't changed all that much since 2011's Forever Dolphin Love—as on that record, wobbly, 4AD-ish guitars provide an unstable structure for his vocals to reverberate around in. If it wasn't so slathered in effects, Caramel could be a charming folk album. Instead, it's so ephemeral that it's almost frail, sharing some ideas with the goofier end of psych-rock. Most of the songs on Caramel are based on bluesy guitar riffs that get across more emotion than the bizarre vocals. Mockasin sounds like he's puffing on helium, shooting up into an inhuman register as if he can't control his own pitch. When he's singing love songs, like the title track, or the touching "I Wanna Roll With You," there's a sense that he's intentionally defying expectations. Just when you think he's got a killer hook going ("Do I Make You Feel Shy?"), it gets muddled by mumbling or tonal weirdness. "I'm The Man, That Will Find You" basically sounds like a warbly off-cut from an old Rolling Stones bootleg, mushmouth lyrics and all. Caramel's second half is taken up by the five-part "It's Your Body" suite, an all-consuming black hole that smothers whatever sluggish momentum might have existed before it, and makes the rest of the album seem far more conventional than it actually is. By the time the weepy riff of "I Wanna Roll With You" is leading us back into relative normalcy, it sounds like a pop song, but it's not. Pop is something that Mockasin likes to imagine rather than create, and that's exactly what he does here. Caramel is a collection of half-finished songs that force you to fill in the blanks. It's just as frustrating and occasionally enlightening as that sounds.
  • Tracklist
      01. Nothing Lasts Forever 02. Caramel 03. I'm The Man, That Will Find You 04. Do I Make You Feel Shy? 05. Why Are You Crying? 06. It's Your Body 1 07. It's Your Body 2 08. It's Your Body 3 09. It's Your Body 4 10. It's Your Body 5 11. I Wanna Roll With You