bossa nova cinematic music indie indie folk jazz Noir review

Cots – Moonlit Building Review

Bossanova Noir meets tape-warped Indie Folk

What does Cots sound like?

Off-kilter tape warped indie folk.

The review of Cots – Moonlit Building

‘Moonlight Building’ is Cots new EP following on from her 2021 album ‘Disturbing Body’. It is my entry point into the mystical world of Cots and fans of unusual, off-kilter folk will feel right at home. Cots takes Brazilian Bossanova and mixes it with unusual indie folk trappings that are more leftfield than This Is The Kit or Rozi Plain.

photo of Cots

The first thing to notice about this EP is that the percussion is the loudest element in the mix. The drums are placed front and centre and depending on the track they’ll be snaking their way around your speakers like a Latin American slinky. The EP opens with the title track where Cots (Steph Yates) teams up with Oliver Fairfield for a duel vocal oddity. With deep resonant drums, tape-warped guitars and warm but lost vocals, it reminds me of Bat For Lashes at her cinematic best. The melodic progression takes you off the beaten track and you’ll need to expect that across the EP.

Cots seems equally as influenced by jazz as she is folk and bossa nova as the smooth hushed tones seep through each song with its jazzy blues chords. ‘Flowers (Fresh Cut)’ is the summery hippy track on the EP. You can almost visualise a French art film being played over the top of it. Bountiful cajon beats, watery brass and curious vocals set the song apart from the rest. The jazzy tones of ‘Devil Does’ is characterised by a collapsing souffle of drums that stumble and trickle dramatically around a minimalistic melody. The use of space and hushed quiet really pricks the ear for every taut sound.

‘The Women With No Face’ moves into clunky film noir territory. Shivery strings and full-bodied glockenspiel and vibraphone underpin the rustic drums. Steph’s floaty vocals softly paint a picture of a Bond femme fatale and the song matches the vibe too. The closing track ‘No Way No How’ is a sound collage of glass and wooden tuned percussion and vocal layers that crash and clunk away like a tuneful machine. Metalic scrapes and crashes sear the background in this atmospheric stealth track made for the midnight hour.

From her breathy coos to the constantly surprising shifts in chord tone, Cots keeps you on your toes despite never lifting her voice or her stature. There is a cinematic intensity to the music that gurgles away beneath a pristine jazzy-noir sound and it drew me in as a listener. The EP is a heavy shroud that never gives its full intent or identity away and each listen reveals a twist on its mood. A wonderful introduction to Cots, ‘Moonlit Building’ is one of the best off-kilter genre straddles I’ve heard in 2023.

Recommended track: Moonlit Building

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Cots - Moonlit Building



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