Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on January 4, 2008
Review by Lily Moayeri, BPM Magazine
The Swedish duo Koop have done a great job of adapting and, in the process, owning music from parts of the world other than where they hail from. On their latest long-player — that term is used euphemistically, as it only runs a scant 30 minutes — Koop Islands, the two feature their latest musical adoption: Jamaica.
Showcasing a number of singers, including Ane Brun, Yukimi Nagana, Earl Zinger (better known as Rob Gallagher of Galliano fame) and Mikael Sundin, the majority of Islands is vocalized. While the voices are excellent and fit wonderfully into what Koop is trying to do, it is the musical vibe of Islands that stands out more than anything else. There is the Caribbean tone that gives the album its title, but it is the early 19th century sensibilities that are the identifying markers of Islands. Shuffling percussion, clinking keys, thrumming bass and an underlying, swingy jazz element create the foundation that every song is built upon. Hazy speakeasies, smoky nightclubs, cigarettes in long holders, knee-length swishy skirts, and buckled high heels are the images that Koop Islands evokes. Although on the odd track, such as “Let’s Elope,” one starts smelling the coconut oil with the exotic inclusion of some discreet island drums. “Let’s Elope” connects back to the rest of Koop Islands with the fanfare of aptly placed horns.
Elsewhere, the spoken word of “Beyond The Sun” writes a letter in your mind that pulls you right into the lives of those to which it was written. Koop Islands is fairly brief, but it’s a transcontinental sonic journey you won’t soon forget.