Koop – Koop Islands

Koop – Koop Islands / 2007 Atlantic / 11 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/koop /

Koop is an odd band. I believe, in the 2,500+ discs that I’ve reviewed in the last decade, that they are the first to link together the swing genre with a more Caribbean type of sound. Where I originally thought that the style would not work in the slightest, just listening to a few seconds of “Koop Island Blues” (the disc’s first track), and I was shown the fallacy of my beliefs. Individuals that were either very musically savvy or on the other side of the pond already know about Koop, but those individuals that either had other music to focus on or were in the United States likely were not able to receive the gospel of Koop until this year.

However compelling and haunting the melodies are that Koop provides during the entirety of “Koop Islands”, this is increased by the presence of Yukimi Nagano and the sultry style of vocals that issue forth, especially during the band’s first major hit, “Summer Sun”. However, Ane Brun’s vocals that open up “Koop Island Blues” are sharp on their own, and provide a certain dryness that works in specific contexts where the smoother, bassier sound of Nagano’s does not. Both vocalists provide an uplift to what is already a stellar set of instrumentation that never fails to impress throughout the entirety of “Koop Islands”. The only problem that I could see with Koop is that since they are playing such an older style of music, that they may only be relegated to the NPRs and smaller college stations of the world. There is not that track present during “Koop Islands” that could be a crossover hit, a car commercial-ready song, or the next big viral thing.

Koop provides a quite tight set of salvos that would normally spell curtains for anyone that would attempt to this. Rather than fall into a rut after a certain number of these tracks, they are able to continually innovate and play around a specific sound for the entirety of this disc. Like The Dresden Dolls before them, I’m really unsure about where they could go from here. Koop creates a perfect album but it may be a flash of lightning – where will they go from here, and how will they change and evolve their sound to make something substantially different from what individuals hear on “Koop Islands”? I have faith that they can do it.

Top Tracks: Koop Island Blues, Summer Sun

Rating: 7.1/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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