The Alpines – Cocoon [2011]

Now this is what im talking about, huge sweeping vocals and lush all encompassing synth. Nothing quite beats being wrapped up in a huge orchestral blanket of electronica and Cocoon has this in spades. I hadnt ever heard of The Alpines before about an hour ago and im now hooked. Catherine Pockson has a pitch perfect vocal range that lends itself perfectly to Bob Matthews arrangements. The components for the most part are simple but refined making the whole sound far more engaging than any one part. Its pretty hard to find that balance I think, doubly so in this kind of “Pop” tinted electronica. Such a refreshing sound, I hope they absolutely dominate when this is released.

Taken from The Guardian, New Band Of the Day, 15th Dec. 2010
Alpines are one ice maiden with a powerful voice and one musician with an impressive keyboards arsenal. Catherine Pockson’s vocals hover – yell, blare, sigh – somewhere between the torchy melodrama of Clare Maguire and the nu-goth stridency of Zola Jesus, with some of the sublimated blues of Beth Gibbons and quivery excitedness of Elly Jackson, with maybe a smidgeon of the ethereal airiness of Liz Cocteau. It’s very much a voice for now. Bob Matthews, meanwhile, creates music that drifts between eras and genres: it moves at a trip-hop pace, utilising some of the same post- or neo-dubstep production techniques heard on the xx album as well as clanging beats not heard since the days of “metalbashing” when groups such as Test Department would attack stages with pneumatic drills. Matthews, who wasn’t even born when Einstürzende Neubauten were busy collapsing new buildings, takes some of that industrial noise and puts it in a pop context, which is thoughtful of him, because we rather value our hearing.

Imagine La Roux redoing In for the Kill as a funeral dirge and you’ll have some idea of what Alpines sound like. Unlike La Roux, however, this isn’t just a vehicle for the female frontwoman while the male synth whizz takes refuge in anonymity. They both want to be adored, as Ian Brown would have it, although he would have said “wanna” – suburban kids Pockson and Matthews are far too posh to apocopate. They’re bright, too, with plenty of ideas. They call what they do “night pop” and they’ve got all sorts of arty plans for presentation and packaging. Catherine writes a blog detailing her intentions for Alpines imagery and her love of French visionary painters. You can also see how Alpines music was used in a film by photographer Rankin for designer Hannah Marshall’s catwalk show during fashion week. “The blog captures my ideas and influences on our aesthetic as a whole,” she told us recently. She also sent us some random images that “represent the colour spectrum for all future Alpines designs” and some pictures of the star Nebula because “it is the combination of the electric and the ethereal, which I love”. You’ve got to applaud their ambition. What’s that sound? That was us, applauding.


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