CocoRosieThe pure definition of an acquired taste, CocoRosie, aka sisters Bianca and Sierra Casady, have spent the best part of a decade taking great delight in perplexing audiences with their avant-garde freak-folk sound. Their fifth studio effort, Tales of a Grass Widow, is no less idiosyncratic, lurching from mid-90s R&B to meditative New Age instrumentals to deranged music box lullabies whilst simultaneously deploying a schizophrenic vocal style which borders on the unhinged. But it’s the continuous theme of lost innocence which perhaps makes the follow-up to 2010’s Grey Oceans their most disturbing piece of work yet. Here’s a look at five of its most unsettling lyrics.

Child Bride

CocoRosieFor once, Bianca’s childlike tones appear entirely appropriate rather than horribly contrived as she places herself in the shoes of a five-year-old girl trying to come to terms with being sold by her family to a man whose only distinguishable feature she can recall is his black hat. Her subsequent joy at such simple pleasures as the grass and flowers that grow beneath her window only heighten the sense of heartbreak that comes with her desperate situation: [LISTEN]

The man with the black hat
Will take me home tonight
I wash my body, five years grown
Promised father, leave me alone
Hope not too lonely
You pull away down the dusty road

Harmless Monster

CocoRosieA continuation of the little girl lost theme that runs throughout the entire record, this sombre piano-led ballad paints another achingly sad picture, this time of a prostitute consumed by so much low self-esteem that she practically begs anyone who recognises her to remind her of the more carefree days when she was an ‘angel with flowers in her hair’ rather than the ‘harmless monster’ who now walks the streets entirely un-noticed: [LISTEN]

I used to be the son or the daughter of the last name Charlotte
Now I`m humbug and I`m harlot
Harmless monster with flowers in your hair
By the roadside, in the nighttime
I`m hardly even there

Villain

CocoRosieThe record’s most brutal offering is also perversely the most melodic as Sierra wraps her eerie supernatural tones around a production which, in a rare case of riding the zeitgeist, fits in with the whole ghostly post-R&B scene favoured by the likes of Polica. However, its tale is unmistakably CocoRosie, centering on another troubled young girl, who after witnessing her sister’s bloody escape from her incestuous uncle, rues the day she failed to take a similarly fatal way out; [LISTEN].

What happened to my life?

All this ain’t right

I should have taken it myself

With Uncle Freddy’s knife

Cause the grave is very suiting

For a bloodless daughter bride

Gravediggress

CocoRosieDownright weird, even by CocoRosie’s high standards, the utterly creepy beat-boxing folk of “Gravediggress” is essentially a duet between a distressed young child (played by Bianca), whose request for help digging a hole to keep her love safe once again implies a tortured past, and an outcast old lady (played by Sierra), whose nonsensical words of wisdom in response appear to suggest that the two separate entities are in fact one and the same: [LISTEN]

Old scarecrow wounded at the knee

Lost your button eyes

And most of your stuffing

Hay for a heart

And hay for a brain

If your momma was sweeter then you might be sane 

Tears For Animals

CocoRosieOne of many tracks on the record which allude to an abusive father figure, “Tears For Animals” is an unexpected foray into dubstep. Of course, this being CocoRosie, bombastic dub-bass wobbles are few and far between as the pair opt instead for muted nocturnal beats and delicate piano chords to surround their feelings of betrayal and trust, while guest vocalist Antony Hegarty’s haunting questioning of mankind’s atrocities only adds to the sense of anguish: [LISTEN]

Solemn seething my old man

Left me breathing black and blue and tan

Hide the feeling you’ll be feeling

When the day turns forever into night