A couple of weeks back. I had a swing time reviewing a band that made the word ‘alternative’ sound rather square and ancient. The five-piece Lazu Lie, had just released their ‘no name’ album. Having got that album off my chest, I moved back to the daily fodder of mainstream music, where I could flex my well-trained reviewing muscles. Then suddenly on my desk today, I find an album by Young Coconut entitled “Bieber Heads”, and I went like, “Oh my GOD!”, not because I read ‘Bieber’…it was the name Young Coconut that gave me the Goosebumps!
I remembered that this dude also handles guitars, vocals, drums and hand percussion with Lazu Lie; which meant going back to the drawing board and another tough day at the reviewer’s office.
“Bieber Heads” is a remix album, done in collaboration with Curtis Maranda, who is from a band called Tiger Suit. Maranda also mixed and mastered the Lazu Lie album. “Bieber Heads” contains Maranda’s re-imaginings of Young Coconut’s original tracks taken from various album releases.
I’ll be honest, by saying that I don’t know the original recordings, so my impressions stand solely on these ‘remixed’ versions. Much like Lazu Lie, Young Coconut’s music belies genres and the strange thing is you can’t even be bothered to waste time categorizing it. You just groove along to the vibe and sounds, right from track one.
Along with Lazu Lie and a few others, Young Coconut remains among the boldest and most eccentric indie artists I’ve heard in recent years. It only takes one good listen to hear how impressive “Bieber Heads” is. The album contains defining avant-garde and rock experimentalism wrapped up in funk and punk rhythms. This winning formula is capped with Young Coconut’s ability to not take himself too seriously.
The songs here are incredibly diverse, and no two sound the same. I dare you to find any similarities between “Torch Bearer” and “Koca Bebek”. The album blatantly shows why snobbism is wrong in music. No contempt is shown for any kind of music, rhythm or melody; whether or not its guitar or synth driven, and the results are stunning.
Though diverse, the eleven tracks merge seamlessly into one another and are almost hypnotic at times, with subtle electronic effects and spacey synthesizer parts accenting each piece. Mixed with funky rhythms and highly articulate songwriting, coupled with a quaint retro taste, the album links alternative and electronica skillfully together.
I won’t go through a track-by-track breakdown, suffice to say that Young Coconut and Curtis Maranda have captured a fleeting moment of expressive creativity on record. Not an easy task and probably something too fugacious to plan. Like many unorthodox works of art, “Bieber Heads” has to be experienced to be appreciated and better understood. Words really can’t do it justice.
My hope is that you check it out and have the unique and awesome experience of listening to this music for yourself. It might not be mainstream enough to please everybody, but if everything sounded the same, albums like “Bieber Heads” wouldn’t be so special. Keep your mind and ears open wide and you’ll be rewarded.