COUGH COOL - "Clausen" C28 (Not Not Fun, 2011)

I was really excited to see that NNF had released something from this great band.They have a handful of releases out there, on various labels like Beko and Bathetic, and all of them are worth checking out.Clausen is their most recent album, and also their most diverse.A nose dive into cavernous pop songs and minimalist gloom.Their sound has always been rather dark and looming, with their hushed, haunting vocals and foggy instrumentation.They often dip into big riffs, with walls of shoegazey guitars and swelling synths, but also make good use of open spaces and barely audible tones.Clausen has it all.Each song is completely different from the last, but they all carry this dense and hazy tone, and it makes this a pretty cohesive listen overall.Here we go.
Acid Classics starts things off with a swaggering drum machine groove, joined by layers of bluesy psych riffs, and a faint, distorted sample loops on in the background.It sounds like two men talking into a fan, in a giant metal room.It's easy on the ears, and a nice introduction to the album.Stolen is next, and this is the Cough Cool that I remember.Layers of gentle guitar melodies sneak into your ears, with a bit of wah sprayed over them, and it reminds me a bit of Real Estate.There's a quiet shaker keeping things at a laid back pace, and the vocals are pleasant and almost whispered.This one has a really loose and easy vibe, and I must have played it three times over.Things start to go dark on track five, Sucker, a slow and heavy tune, that barely changes key at all.The whole song is led by a single blown out chord and a syrupy, thudding beat, and the atmospheric harmonies just kind of build up around the two.This one reminded me of Earth's tamer moments.The vocals are again, just a notch above a whisper, but with a much dark and more serious delivery.It's quite hypnotizing, and probably the most addictive track on the album.
Clausen comes to a end with a hissy, daydreamer disco tune called And Nothing Happened.It's almost too perfect of an ending, with the ultra slow bump of the kick and snare, and the ethereal synth delays that sound like they will disappear at any second, but somehow find their way back before completely withering away.It's kind of like blowing bubbles, and just before they burst, you blow a few more to keep things moving.His voice is soothing and gray, and this could be a real bummer, if it weren't so pleasant.HIGHLY Recommended.Get a copy here.