Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

Renowned For Sound

For the latest music reviews and interviews

Album Review: Connan Mockasin – Caramel & Forever Dolphin Love

3 min read

It makes sense that Connan Mockasin’s brilliant albums Forever Dolphin Love and Caramel be re-released as special editions at the same time, as though they were essentially a single unit: according to Connan Hosford, the mad musical genius responsible for them, they are. Hosford has stated that together the two beautifully bonkers releases tell a single story. “It [Forever Dolphin Love] starts with the dolphin leaving,” Hosford has said, “and the boss who is so in with love with the dolphin is sad, and then it kicks into the new album [Caramel], and he is happier. But there’s a car race and a crash.”

Connan Mockasin CaramelNewcomers to Connan Mockasin might find the above ‘plot’ a bit off a turn off: it sounds more like the synopsis for a demented Z-Grade 80’s comedy than anything else. But don’t be fooled. The first time you spin Forever Dolphin Love or Caramel all you can hear is the weirdness. The second time around, you still hear the weirdness, but you also hear what might not have been apparent the first time: a deep rooted sincerity.

Connan Mockasin is not a novelty act, and those who dismiss the music as weird for the sake of weird are missing out on the magic that works far beneath its surface. Take the titular track from Forever Dolphin Love, a sprawling, ten minute epic that might make the unprepared laugh (or roll their eyes) the first time around, but reveals itself to be an oddly emotional, surreally moving experience the more you hear it.

From beginning to end the tunes of Forever Dolphin Love are shrouded in mystery; songs like Unicorn in Uniform and Please Turn Me Into The Snat have a power that is hard to explain, or even deconstruct, and Hosford’s affected vocals on Faking Jazz Together reach a crescendo of oblique beauty. Indeed, Faking Jazz Together is the stand-out from an already incredible album; a dark, moving ballad with a far greater power than it initially lets on.

There is nothing slight or even affected about the album: spend any time in Hosford’s musical company and you will soon realize that he is a man with a genuine and obvious passion for melodies and tone. He’s not joking around: although the titles of his songs (It’s Choade My Dear comes to mind as a good example) and his presentation might indicate to some that he’s taking the mick, the truth is Hosford playfully uses the trappings of genre to reveal something of intimate power.

The songs of Caramel are considerably more upbeat, as they should be: after all, ‘the boss’ is happier, right? Despite its title, Why Are You Crying is a tender, uplifting tune, and Nothing Lasts Forever is a sundrenched blast of optimistic melody and distortion, akin to what yoga music might sound like if it wasn’t rubbish.

In short: now is your chance to give Caramel and Forever Dolphin Love a little bit of your time. In return, you’ll get more than you could have ever bargained for.