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Operating well beyond the remit of alt-folk, Cocos Lovers (pronounced Co-Coss) are a distinctive musical force, seamlessly channelling influences from Africa, the US Deep South and several other real and imagined corners of the globe, while staying ever faithful to their Kentish roots. Hailing from the small but musically rich town of Deal, they are a close-knit 7-piece band of family, friends and former au pairs. Their music swells with powerful choir-like harmonies and glorious widescreen melodies, and they’ve earned a reputation for fantastic live performances with an ever-changing instrumental line-up of mandolin, banjo, acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica, violin, musical saw, flute and a unique blend of drums and percussion.
Their debut album, Johannes, was conceived in 2008 when the newly-formed group quit their regular jobs and ventured out on an odyssey around Europe. They busked the streets of countless towns, worked on farms, stayed in squats and communes and wrote music inspired by their experiences. Johannes was released through the band’s own co-operative; Smugglers Records, in spring 2010, winning For Folk’s Sake’s album of the year poll and much critical acclaim:
‘Lively and incredibly infectious’ … ‘Full of spiraling songs to be danced to in a field or enjoyed at home for their life and unassumingly poetic lyrics.’ – Maverick
‘A thing of beauty…. Far from being a traditional folk record, Johannes is a multicultural affair, taking in musical styles from all around the world. And it is all the richer for this fact.’ – BBC Kent
‘Sweet music indeed.’ – Rock ‘n Reel
The band’s second album, Elephant Lands, was recorded in early 2011. A dramatic journey through darkness and light, its bittersweet themes touch on loss, tragedy, joy and celebration, and it earned the group further rave reviews:
‘In Elephant Lands Cocos Lovers have shown diversity and composure, eloquence and emotion in abundance. They have managed to build on the successes of the first album and deliver a more mature, considered and assured album of remarkable complexity.’ – contactmusic
‘They are wonderful.’ *****’ – Maverick
Smugglers Records has gone on to release 15 records, put on hundreds of music nights across the Southeast and established its own sell-out Smugglers Festival in Kent. It was here, camping out in the festival’s absinthe bar amidst a ‘christmas tree forest’, where Cocos Lovers hid themselves away during the summer of 2012 to write their third album Gold or Dust; taking time off to build stages and compost loos ready for the festival. Once the summer was over the band began working with producer Joel Magill (Syd Arthur, Dawn Chorus Recording Company) and set about recording the new album at Wicker Studios, home of Kate Bushes early records. Gold or Dust explores the apocalyptic destiny of our existence and drifts through folk, world, classical and psychedelic influences.
Cocos Lovers have become big festival favourites with performances at Glastonbury, Cambridge Folk Festival, Green Man Festival and Sidmouth Folk Week, amongst others. They’ve toured the UK and Europe to great acclaim, supported Mumford and Sons and Stealing Sheep, count Laura Marling and BBC6’s Guy Garvey, Cerys Matthews and Tom Robinson amongst their fans, and have received further airplay on various American, European and Antipodean radio networks.
We move from town to town, city to city, country to country, we mirror our audience as they mirror us
Free forming foundations, two swans drifting untouchably out to sea, harmonic beans on toast, from the sky to the ground, living on the floor, cross stitching lines across time, children dream whilst nuzzling the velvet bust, houses built out at sea, singing shantys for sanity, clarity, freedom, future, past and present, getting off easy, twanging bellies before the heavy brick, rushing blood and air, careering toward the unknown in the promised Eastern horizon.
Feet on peddles, hands clamped to the wheels ringing, hair trailing behind, paws pounding, tounge lolling, nose sniffing, down the road mama down the road, the hound is following.
We’ll get there in the end.
*guarantees entry after 9pm, non refundable for arrival before 9pm.