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Dec 25

[vault review] Cocco: Kumuiuta

kumuiutaOne of Cocco’s greatest strengths is her use of extremes. She understands that a powerful moment becomes all the more intense when paired with its opposite. Her recent albums are more consistent in mood, but 1998’s surreal-sounding Kumuiuta had her most deft contrast.

The a capella lullaby “Chiisana Ame no Hi no Kuwamui” makes the sinister riffs of follow-up “Nureta Yurikago” even more cathartic. The explosive, terror-filled choruses of “Ratai” heighten the uneasiness of its ambiguous ending. “Unai” provides a cool-down after the grand “Raining.” The creak-filled “Rose letter,” about a bitter confrontation with a traitor, gives way to a children’s song about eating a farm pig before it’s sold off. Cocco snorts like a pig before the band kicks in, and she sings the lyrics in an adorable yet creepy deadpan.

That isn’t to say Kumuiuta is all an exercise in yin and yang. Some of its best moments are the moderate ones. “Tsuyoku Hakanai Monotachi” is a rocker reliant on an undulating rhythm instead of heavy riffs. The string instruments in “Utakata” set a tranquil mood but never overtake it.

Kumuiuta may not rock out as much as the albums bookending it, but it still packs quite the punch. The dreamy soundscapes don’t last long before they abruptly turn into nightmares.