Coconut Rock

Since the release of ‘El Nino Y El Sol’, Ocote Soul Sounds has evolved from the duo of Adrian Quesada and Martin Perna to a bustling seven-piece ensemble. 'Coconut Rock' is their third album and opening track ‘The Revolt of The Cockroach People’ features an awfully misleading title, even so, this is lounge music à la Ronson with a buoyant rhythm of bongos, beats and mesmerising flute. Title track ‘Coconut Rock’ is far less haphazard and all the better for it with Latin breakbeat grooves that drift lusciously towards psychadelia. The sense of sublime order addles itself to delicious funk and a mesmerising din with an hypnotic drumbeat and the mantra sung title acting as the main attractions. All that’s lacking so far is some meaningful vocals which ‘El Diablo Y El Nau Nau’ delivers alongside some typically meddling electro. Even sung in Spanish and sounding as if recorded in a phone booth there is a tangible sense of slow burning chic evident. ‘Tu Fin, Mi Comienzo’ is simply a reprise in disguise with a similar sense of abandonment and twinned beats to its predecessor. The supplementary Arabian-influenced keyboard brings reminisces of the cheeky, catchy exotic-pop that The Zutons tend to specialise in.

With plucked acoustic guitar, ‘Vendende Saunde Y Fe’ is an altogether subtler affair, with spellbinding female vocals from Brazilian singer Tita Lima and a rhythm section that could easily flourish in the porn industry. Then, a smouldering electric guitar intervenes and the track takes on a fuller, sexier feel. The album generously spreads its wealth meaning that shortly after exuberance lies delicacy. ‘Tres Ratas’ is a prime case in point as it slowly busies itself around a throbbing bassline and incessant keyboard before working itself into a well thoughout frenzy. In contrast, ‘Pan, Chamba Y Techno' begins like the start to Tarantino’s next gangster epic, all throbbing funk before that flute makes a welcome return with admirable assistance from a relentless drum beat and a smattering of chanted vocals. The track also seems to be one of few to boast extended production which has the adverse effect of losing the organic charm that had been developing.

‘Vampires’ foregoes the funk, preferring a rushed rhythm section and with the vocals in English, the track lacks that prevalent glamour. ‘Return of The Freak’ suffers from the misleading syndrome previously mentioned and can easily lay claim to being the most tedious track on the album with hushed vocals and petty basslines. Sounding like background music to a Bond film, ‘Cara De Yo No Fui’ is relentless funk which should come with a health warning informing listeners that repeated plays could cause drowsiness. Closing track, ‘Prince of Peace’ comes across as unabashed and acts as a fitting finale with its potent cacophony featuring saxaphone and maracas.

Energetic yet erudite, sexy yet subtle; Coconut Rock is an album full of contradictions, and all the better for it.