Just Listen (label)
15 May 2020 (released)
07 May 2020
Never underestimate the power of music to bring people together. The Coo are Matt Arthur and Jara Holdert, from London and Amsterdam respectively, and it was an all-too-brief meeting at an open mic night in the latter city that sparked a personal and musical connection between the duo. That was nearly four years ago, and since then, there have been countless visits, performances and online songwriting sessions, culminating in this five-track debut EP.
'Amsterdam Moon' was recorded live about a year ago, amid an audience of friends and fans in an old Amsterdam synagogue. On 'Low Country Girl' - a tale of the night they met - they set the tone for the rest of the EP; a stripped-back arrangement of little more than acoustic guitars and wonderful two-part harmonies that would surely have folk greats like Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris nodding in approval.
'Rosie' is probably their best chance at a 'hit'; a lively-paced number that boasts the kind of almost Beatles-esque melody and harmony-laden chorus that linger long in the memory. That said, other tracks like 'Something Turned' and the closing 'Baby Won't You Please' would lose something in a typical concert hall or theatre; these are songs that are both built on and thrive in a sense of intimacy, and the duo's confessional lyrical style suits the music beautifully.
The decision to record live was to try to capture "the focus, vulnerability and delicate tension of an intimate performance." In that respect, The Coo have certainly succeeded, and after hearing 'Amsterdam Moon', you'll most likely wish you'd been in that synagogue with them.