Disclaimer: I really, really, really like CocoRosie. Everything the band does captivates me. When Bianca and Sierra Casady bust out and use that toy we all had when we were two that makes barnyard-animal sounds, I think it’s exciting, even as people around me are rolling their eyes, either at the noise or because of the perceived pretentiousness.
That said, I was surprised to hear CocoRosie’s side project, Metallic Falcons, had actually been recorded. I remember the band performing occasionally in New York, but I just chalked it up to being another play thing in the ‘Rosie repertoire. Not so. For Desert Doughnuts, the opera-trained Sierra rounded up a handful of meaningful “friends” such as Devendra Banhart, Jana Hunter, and Antony to help out.
Throughout, Desert Doughnuts fluctuates among mostly atmospheric abstract musings led by Sierra’s vocals — they’re more of an instrument than a mode of delivering content. If Metallic Falcons are inching toward the socio-political commentary that characterizes CocoRosie’s first two releases, it’s hard to tell.
Some of the key “toy” sounds show up (mostly in the last half of the album), but Metallic Falcons’ music employs more hard-slanted guitar than the more folk-oriented CocoRosie does. There’s sort of a “hard” lo-fi sound that seems to be recycled over and over, and it gets a bit tedious at times — the voices might provide more of a distraction than anything. And therein lies the problem. Although the members of Metallic Falcons head down the path of the avant-garde, it’s difficult to figure out what they’re trying to go, even if it’s not something the listener is supposed to understand. But understanding that you’re not supposed to understand shouldn’t be this confusing.