Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cotton Mather - Kon Tiki - 1997


Cotton Mather's first album, 1994's Cotton Is King, was fine guitar pop with a decided Squeeze influence, but it doesn't prepare one at all for the sonic onslaught of its 1997 follow-up. Kon-Tiki is one can't-get-it-out-of-your-skull pop song after another, interspersed with bursts of tape collage and random studio noise. "Vegetable Row," for example, sounds like a hard-candy circa-'66 Dylan outtake before it ends with a few seconds' splice of a completely different song, which is rudely chopped off in time for the organ-driven "Aurora Bori Alice." Variety is the watchword on Kon-Tiki. The wildly overdriven feedback-fest "Church of Wilson" leads straight into the gently swirling keyboards and acoustic guitars of "Lily Dreams On," which immediately makes way for the classic harmony-filled jangle pop "Password." The amazing thing is that, despite the wild mood and style shifts, the album doesn't sound fragmentary in the least; the pieces all fall into place. Brad Jones' production features studio chatter, audible edits, remarkably loud clicks, and yet the overall sound is enormous, filled with amazing sonic depth. Lo-fi this ain't. Song titles like "Camp Hill Rail Operator" or "Animal Show Drinking Song" might recall Guided By Voices, and the audio-verite "Prophecy for the Golden Age" wouldn't have sounded out of place on Pavement's Westing (By Musket and Sextant), but neither band could possibly come up with a song like the instant classic "My Before and After," three minutes worth of non-stop hooks grounded with a percussive low-register piano part that makes it sound like a lost outtake from Revolver. In an album's worth of non-stop pop delights, "My Before and After" is a clear masterpiece. -AMG

If you like "Kon Tiki" get it here!

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8 comments:

Gyro1966 said...

Good stuff! I look forward to your music.

Anonymous said...

GREAT !!!!, another classic power-pop album.
juan

wkc said...

One of the best from the last decade. A great share. Everyone should give this a listen.

Anonymous said...

a bona fide classic....

every home should own one!

Kugayama said...

this gets better everytime i listen to it. sublime stuff

Anonymous said...

Just an incredible album I probably never listened to without Noel Gallagher. Man, you forgot to talk about the Beatles influence : the Cotton Mather singer sounds like Lennon and his name is... Harrisson !
Furthermore, they are great guys. I saw them in Marseilles (France) for the "Big Picture" tour : an excellent show, with Private Ruth played unplugged backstage.

Congratulations for this excellent site.

Anonymous said...

TOO cool! I heard bits of this on the radio this PM and flipped out. Thanks!

Hey, people who dig this might also get into the little known self titled album, The Orgone Box. This is a mostly one-man production by Rick Corcoran, from 1996. I will check back here in a few days and upload a copy if requested.

Silversuit said...

Ive had a couple of beers - though this album has to be the best and most under-rated album ever. Full of Gems.

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