You know, I’ve been listening to ‘Less Wild Lovers’ by Koko Sing, a West Virginia based project that may or may not be active currently (seriously, there is nothing on these guys anywhere on the net) and I’ve been really struggling to describe their sound. The band describes themselves as Indie, Math-Rock, Lo-Fi, and alternative in addition of course to post-rock, but I can’t help but feel most of those labels are slightly exaggerated. The truth is I’m going to have to be one of THOSE reviewers who creates a new term to define the sound of a relatively obscure band you’ve never heard of before. With no intentions for this term to catch on, I am affectionately referring to Koko Sing as ‘Coffee Shop Post-Rock’ .
I just can’t help but feel this album is simply the perfect backing soundtrack to that little hole in the wall non-corporate coffee house that everyone in the neighborhood goes to in order to get away from the madness of the outside world. You know, the one that serves both Italian sodas AND Candy Cane Lattes and occasionally has a high school 3-piece or two play an impromptu jam session on Thursdays. ‘Less Wild Lovers’ just has this warm approachable feel to it that makes you easily lose track of the fact that this is a meaty 8-track 54 minute effort. I think what I most like about Koko Sing’s sound is that they never stray for their every so slightly warmly distorted mellow subdued sound, they never attempt to rewrite the genre and they certainly aren’t flashy, but they still manage to snag my attention for every moment of each song. Each song is its own effort and remains unique, but as a whole album ‘Less Wild Lovers’ presents phenomenal synergy.
Above all else, it’s a really fun album to boot. The band definitely has a bevy of math-rock influence but lacks all of the sporadic craziness that generally sets apart math-rock from post-rock. It’s almost like math-rock on a real tight leash or stuffed in a cage. Tracks like “I Can’t Stop Imagining Myself Without Lips” and “Truth and Threats” are perfect examples of songs that could easily go off the rails into flurries of math-rock offensive, but instead opt to stay true to the mellow vibe the band has nearly perfected. To compare one obscure regional band to another obscure regional band, Koko Sing reminds me a lot of Nomads from Cleveland, Oh, yet another band I’d like to throw under this brand new ‘Coffee Shop Post-Rock’ umbrella of mine.
Introductory post-rock at its finest, you could set this album to shuffle and the first song to come up would be an excellent choice for introducing a new listener to the genre. ‘Less Wild Lovers’ is the end result of a band willing to add influence into their sound but unwilling to become those influences. For the sake of picking favorites (man, I’m going to be a terrible Father some day if I have more than one child), I’ll take “Repeat After Me” as my favorite track on the album for it’s simplistically catchy layered guitars with “Truth and Threats” as a close second for having some seriously mathy Jardin De La Croix influence.
The world won’t end if you don’t check out Koko Sing, but if you do check them out your day will be substantially better. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.