Cotillon, aka Jordan Corso, is another in an ever-increasing line of bedroom novices who, after doling out some Bandcamp tunes, ultimatley wrangles up some pals to play some shows and finally fleshes out a whole album. This seems to be the post-aughts version of a “band,” so even doting on the possible advantages of forming an actual band in the first place seems not only quaint, but pointless if the subsequent album is good, and this one is.
Californian Corso has been making mattress music for a few years now, but this is his proper debut full-length, and it showcases a seemingly humble fellow (songs are never too loud, too fast, too anything) with strong, effortless songwringing aplomb. Few-chord riffs churn under Corso’s scaggle-croon as barely-there bass and slappy drums work through three-minute tunes. Nothing new, but nevertheless affecting, especially when Corso tosses off charming lyics like, “If an asteroid hit the earth tonight, I’d finally try to kiss you” (“Asteroid”). Awww.
His 98-pound weakling stance makes a great foil to often edging-on-sprawling songs, like the desert skies-high balladry of Lyman. Like Stephen Malkmus, Corso sounds smarter for his deft dropping back from over-singing and keeping the band from getting too muscular since, so far, this is all lonely, sunny day walking around pop. But there’s much here, like Corso’s sneakily strong voice, that means if he could surround himself with a consistent band that would kick his butt sometimes, his affects could become more effective in the future.
Corso can go from the sullen, streetlamp torch song duet, “Left Bank” (well if the torch was a sparkler) to Before that takes a long-time digestion of New Order melodies on a midnight stroll around quiet L.A. sidestreets. There’s an air of record collector kitchen sink here, with nods to fave classic rock moves&mdash: ’80s Jersey Hammond ‘n’ horns (“Call Me Up”); ’70s Cali leather fringe-licks (Holding You Back); trash-psych zip (Infection), and overall a thrift store sport coat cloak of early 2000s indie nerd. That’s not a problem, especially as Corso weaves his moves so smoothly.
What’s really left wanting are some sharp edges, cracked shocks of guitar or unexpected beat forays, that might add some emotional peaks and valleys and make this album creep into your craw a little more. But leader Corso is afterall a Californian, and creeping into craws isn’t a pressing concern when you can walk down to the beach and take in the warm breeze. So good for him.