Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The last time the boys from Princeton were featured on Daytrotter - not even a year ago - I wrote about how they made this scholarly sort of indie rock and roll and alluded to a hypothesis that very well seemed to be an exact certainty, that they had read serious books, ones that made you feel smarter just by holding them and tracing your fingers across the imprinted title font on their covers. None of those thoughts have been replaced, and while the band has maintained these mannerisms and proclivities of style and substance (not at all bad things), making a different variety of the efforts that the current chart-toppers Vampire Weekend are making, the California band has led us into a slightly reformatted place with its latest record "Cocoon of Love," and an encore session that carried with it new rules and desires. They came into the studio, with their ragged and dying boat shoes sticking to their feet, and they insisted that they basically wanted to mess stuff up a little bit. They wanted their songs to not sound like their songs so much, but to be reworked and spacey, owing more to psychedelic rock and roll of old, than to any specific kind of sweet, modern-sounding music. It has its share of nautical feels - with thick skies that are known to the aristocrat sailors and boats still tied up in the quiet bays at dawn - but there's also that hint of the rambling soul, the cross country movement of a bunch of kids seeking answers or an old, homeless hobo, tucking himself into the back of a train car with a tattered paperback and an old dog for a companion. It's all of these things, plus so much more that are presented in the wonderfully complex and beautifully drowsy medley of "Stunner Shades In Heaven" and "The Wild," both songs from the new long-player. For the session, it was the band's wish to have the time to meticulously remodel their songs into drastically different versions of themselves, leaving distinguishing characteristics, but changing everything else - not at all sticking to what they were comfortable with, what they always played. Over the course of nearly five hours, they continued to play and mess around with these three songs until they felt as if they had the right combination of then and some unknown now, reshaping the songs into extreme reflections of their former selves. The two songs and their transition into one another feels like a willingly ravaged sea, with the waves just acting as wrinkles crashing over with time and the drums, keyboards and guitars acting as witnesses, as if they were at the most gorgeous wedding imaginable. Waves becoming waves, like a series of real-time, impressionistic paintings - the paints wet and mingling together like party guests. We try not to fawn too much over these sorts of new dreams.