When trying to write this week’s FMM on sister act Sierra and Bianca Casady of CocoRosie, tha image of Jennifer Connelly frantically searching for her baby brother in the movie Labyrinth kept coming to mind. Like the movie, the music of CocoRosie has elements that are playful, innocent, and childlike but also mystical, dark, and very adult. These elements combine to make their music the perfect expression of the state of arrested development that most of our generation-the girls included- seem to find themselves stuck in.
Sierra and Bianca were born in Iowa and Hawaii, respectively, and had the kind of unconventional childhood that breeds either incredibly gifted artists or the kind of people who kept psychiatrists in business. Following their parents separation, the girls moved from one town to the next with their artist mother who placed more emphasis on real world experience than traditional education and spent summers with their father, an Iowa farmer turned student of shamanism-these experiences made for great music of course. The girls, who never finished high school, were eventually separated for almost a decade when at 18 Sierra moved to Paris to pursue a career in opera. The pair was reunited when Bianca turned up unexpectedly on her sister’s doorstep, and after recording their first album La Maison de Mon Rêve in Sierra’s bathtub, CocoRosie was born. Since 2004 they have released four studio albums and two EPs, planting themselves firmly in the same New Weird America scene as Devendra Banhart, Animal Collective, and Joanna Newsom.
Drawing from their non-traditional upbringing, Sierra and Bianca have adopted a style of dress that is just as childlike as their music. Instead of embracing one style statement like most artists do, the girls of CocoRosie seem to approach getting dressed in the same manner as two sisters playing dress up. From androgynous looks complete with facial hair, to Victorian dresses, burqas, and the face paint of Native American warriors; nothing is off limits to the girls who cite Pippi Longstocking and Punky Brewster as muses. Although their looks are more costume than sidewalk, they are uniquely CocoRosie. Being a child of the mid-80s, I adore their Neverending Story meets Anne of Green Gables style, no matter how kooky it is, and would play dress up with them in a heartbeat.
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