[B]'Kontiki'[/B] (their second album) is a brave and hopefully unwitting attempt to enliven the stagnant guitar scene with a welcome blast of fresh flair...

Product Overview

Overall rating:

The Element Of Surprise

Product:

The Element Of Surprise

They are from America. They sound rather like The Beatles. They are not mates with The Offspring. In fact, they hardly appear to be mates with anyone – such is the lack of salacious gossip and historical banter about these three unassuming men that one could be forgiven for skipping straight to the crossword right now.

The twist is that, unlike recent Anglophiles such as The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Cotton Mather aren’t trying to sensationalise their transatlantic muse. Rather, these studious-looking sorts from Texas believe in that terribly old-fashioned virtue of Letting The Music Speak For Itself.

Smashingly verbose it is, too. ‘Kontiki’ (their second album) is a brave and hopefully unwitting attempt to enliven the stagnant guitar scene with a welcome blast of fresh flair. Fired by several snazzy things from the ’60s, not least Lennon’s edginess and Dylan’s tumbling delivery, Cotton Mather are setting themselves up to be new kings of the velveteen melodic crush. Theirs is a fizzing, friendly world where ‘Church Of Wilson’ replicates Guided By Voices’ knockabout perfection (two minutes and out, fact fans), ‘Lily Dreams On’ dabbles with flowers-in-the-air winsomeness and ‘Homefront Cameo’ is fundamentally a load of whirling, swirling madness. With bongos. In fact, the whole affair is a mass of contradictions and head-on collisions – any gurgling feyness is tempered with psychedelic lunacy.

So ‘Kontiki’ is mostly exuberant, and occasionally exceptional: ‘Password’ in particular is brilliant, a powerhouse of slavering guitars, quivering tambourine and rapturous bells; and ‘My Before And After’ is terrific, like Dodgy on steroids administering a kicking to ‘My Sweet Lord’.

Which is the way things bloody well should be.