Review: Sweet Spirit – Cokomo

Label: Nine Mile Records
Released: October 16, 2015

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I once read that the Detroit music scene of the 1960s was a battle for the airwaves between Motown and garage rock. It’s hard to imagine being envious of Detroit today, but imagine it 50 years ago, having to pick between the MC5 and the Temptations. Can’t imagine it? Well, maybe you don’t have to.

On Cokomo, Sweet Spirit are at least a good approximation of that crazy mix of 1960s Detroit. The album leans heavily on the garage sound and infuses it with soul. “Rebel Rebel” draws on early 60s AM pop, but gives it a raw edge. A Motown vibe drives “Someone Like You.” But there are still hints of the danceability of 70s and 80s new wave pop too. “Baby When I Close My Eyes” might well have come off an early Blondie album. Nonetheless, Cokomo remains rooted in the wild immediacy of the 60s.

And like that flashpoint culture of the 1960s, Cokomo is very much an album in the moment. The short-sighted urgency of “Take Me to the Party” throws caution to the wind and screams for relief from the woes of love now, regardless of long term effects. “If You Wanna” doesn’t look to solve problems, but to forget them even if that immediacy cannot be realized. The album is not about the past or future, but lives, for better or worse, in the here and now even if its musical roots are almost 50 years ago.

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