Artist: Meg & Dia
After being unceremoniously dropped from their record label last year, indie folk group Meg & Dia took a break from touring to write new material. Headed by sisters Meg and Dia Frampton (the latter can now be seen as a contestant on NBC’s “The Voice”), the band has always been humble, hard-working and exceptionally authentic- qualities that all shine through on the beautifully organic Cocoon.
Straight off the heels of their EP It’s Always Stormy in Tillamook, Cocoon begins with the hazy, dream-like “Love Is.” The song starts off with just Dia’s fragile vocals over a gentle acoustic guitar. Before the track hits the three-minute mark, Dia’s vocals are joined by claps, organ and piano against breathy harmonies. The band never go overboard though; this album is free from heavy guitars and hard drum beats, which adds to its undeniable charm.
“Unsinkable Ships” is a simple, summery, 60′s-style pop number, full of rich harmonies and gang vocals on the repeated lyrics, “I gave up on giving up on me.” The following track, “Breakdown,” is more of a ballad, with a deeper guitar line and shuffling drum beat. The Southern style of “Mary Ann” is new territory for the band, with Dia’s vocals backed by twangy guitars and tambourines. Jazzy “Better Off” is the odd one out on the record, with a Regina Spektor-like quality. What sounds like pots and pans clang in the background as a smoky guitar part compliments Meg’s voice. When it ends, the just-under-two-minutes “Said and Done” returns the record to Meg & Dia’s signature acoustic sound, just before standout track “Summer Clothes” brings back the bouncy drum beats and electric guitars.
“I Need You In It” is probably the catchiest song on the record, with its snappy beat and irresistible love song hook: “In my life, I need you, I need you in it.” Album closer “Teddy Loves Her” is a slower number (with lyrics based on a romance novel written by Dia) that fades out with a lengthy guitar solo.
From the very first seconds of Cocoon, it’s clear that the album was recorded with a simple goal in mind: to make shimmery, soft and thoughtful folk music. Everything, from the lyrics, to the vocals, to the instrumentation, is uncomplicated, while simultaneously well-structured. It’s hard to keep from smiling while listening to this album, and it’s easy to tell that the band have made the exact record they’ve been wanting to make for some time.
Review written by: Rebecca Frank