Single Review: Chris Cohen - "Torrey Pine / In a Fable"

Chris Cohen - "Torrey Pine / In a Fable"
(Captured Tracks 2016)

Cohen's 2012 solo debut, Overgrown Path, was an understated masterwork, steeping the most delicate fruits of 70s soft rock in a cauldron of soupy psychedelia - the Deerhoof drummer's curious blend of jazzy rhythms, distorted-yet-feathery snowbanks of guitar and a dash of Lychian ambience proved as charming and adventurous as well-written children's literature. Playfully pretty and enticing as his freshman outing proved to be, I couldn't help but shudder in fear to uncover two new Cohen singles uploaded to the Captured Tracks soundcloud stream. Overgrown Path has, since its quiet release nearly 4 years ago, felt like an alcove of willful obscurity, a hidden treasure meant to stand on its own. Would a new effort only end up added weight to his lean, crisp discography? If the two singles leading up to his forthcoming LP, As If Apart, are any indication of the future, my fears are all for naught.

The longer and more familiar-sounding of the two tracks is "Torrey Pine", opening with a tinny drone of warm organ that is slowly enveloped by a creeping blanket of dissonant electric piano and breezy guitar chords - it's just as spacey as Cohen's older material and perhaps a bit more biting thanks to its tight percussion and funky bassline. Its companion, "In a Fable" feels a bit slinkier, carried by a shuffling 70s lounge beat and sporadic peals of trebly lead guitar - it wouldn't feel out of place on the most recent effort by labelmate Wild Nothing, Life Of Pause. Captured Tracks Records has noticeably been shifting from its traditional 80s post-punk sound to a 70s soft-rock revivalist aesthetic - with releases as strong as those churned out by Mac Demarco, Wild Nothing and Cohen, I can't help but welcome this change with open arms. Listen to "Torrey Pine" above and "In A Fable" below.