Bizarre & B
“Oh, I think I’ll listen to some new music,” you say. A quick trip to the record store later, you come home with Connan Mockasin’s Caramel. The clerk asked what you were in the mood for, but you really weren’t that picky. “How about something a little funky, a little psychedelic?” he asked and you said, “Sounds interesting. From New Zealand? I’ll try it.” So now you’re at home and you throw it on the turntable…
What. The. Hell.
You might have been suspect, but you hadn’t really looked at the cover: a pale man, almost albino, with a thin mustache and a gold bracelet who is crumpled up in a blanket with a look that isn’t as “Come hither” as it is “You disturbed my nap.” Forty seconds of swirling noises spills into a slow R&B jam and disembodied pitch-shifted vocals, uttering sexy mumbles of who-knows-what. The guitars warble in and out of key, but clearly as an aesthetic choice. The title track comes in next, with the spoken words “Oh, and what is this? Ah, this is something nice” along with the sweetest, sexiest riff ever. It sounds like elated heartbreak raining down with tears of joy and sorrow, and you realize that you forgot how strange you thought things were.
You groove to the intro to “I’m the Man, That Will Find You,” another pitchy soul jam. Your eyes are closed and you’re subtly bopping your head AND THEN THE VOCALS COME IN. Pitch-shifted to a not-quite-chipmunk treble you again wonder what the joke is and why you’re not getting it. Oh, wait, but this song is actually great. Really great. It nails it, and despite the odd choices it satisfies fully. Except, he’s not really saying “I’m the man that will find you” is he? (wink wink)
Things continue with more wet meandering R&B as we get to the five-track “It’s Your Body,” which is a mini-album in itself made up of a song/extended dance mix/creepy Talking Heads jam/motorcycle guitar noises/distorted laughing/Asian girls saying, “Thank you Connan Mockasin” that perfectly leads into the final track “I Wanna Roll With You,” another sexy slow jam and perfect closer.
Completely transfixed, you listen to the record about 30 more times and ponder how something so left-field can be so enticing before you realize that you’re late meeting up with someone. In a scramble to get out the door, you still jump on your computer for a moment to see when Connan Mockasin is coming to your town, because you really have no other choice but to see this live.