CocoRosie: La Maison de Mon Rêve

La Maison de Mon Rêve
Touch and Go

My favorite French expression is Je m'en fous, the art of not giving a damn. There's a reason the French don't bother to cook with margarine, concern themselves with cutting carbohydrates, or eat intestines on television for money. The French simply don't care--and I love them for it. Sisters Bianca and Sierra Casady of the lo-fi pop duo CocoRosie once fled to Paris on a whim, and now they wear their chic indifference like Jean Seberg's Breathless pixie hairdo. When in Rome, as they say. Or Pah-ree. Ah well, we Americans will always have Paris Hilton, right?

Listening to CocoRosie is like peeking through parted shades at a couple of eccentric gals passing the time in a French flat while they wait for the rain to clear. It's hard not to feel like an intruder, though: La Maison is the kind of place where they'll gladly pour you a cup of tea and then promptly ignore you. Sierra strums an acoustic guitar while Bianca winds and shakes toy instruments over primitive drum machine beats. On "By Your Side," Sierra vamps like a helium-sucking Norah Jones, cooing, "Even when you're down and out/I just wanted to be your housewife." Meanwhile Bianca futzes with drumbeats; it seems like she has trouble finding the right speed.

The submissiveness of "By Your Side" is an unlikely complement to the wholesome gospel of "Jesus Loves Me." The girls trickle through spare acoustic picking, segueing into the off-the-cuff jam "Good Friday." Sierra chimes in with the starry-eyed confession, "I once fell in love with you/Just because the sky turned from gray to blue." Her sis harmonizes with a few stray whispers and adds a music box for percussion. And "Tahiti Rain Song" is exactly the kind of snake-charm enchanted flute-and-drum shimmy that would have Paul Gauguin crawling back from his island paradise in seconds.

La Maison de Mon Rêve was recorded in Paris in the springtime, a backdrop as rich and sweet and French in lore as anyone--from Edith Piaf to Jonathan Richman--could possibly hope for. Not bad for a couple of Brooklyn girls

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