The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn

New folk might be a term that’s been bandied about ever since Bob Dylan first struck out, if not before, but in the past several years it’s a genre that has come of age. The characteristics of new folk are a loose coalition of sounds and ideas: a fragility of music and lyric, an outsiderness, a permeability to different beats and new modes of production. It’s here where Sierra and Bianca Casady, two half-Cherokee daughters of itinerant parents in the US – and now relocated in Paris – live.

Following two cult albums that established a soundworld in which Bianca’s toy keyboards, kazoos and singsong rap vied with Sierra’s harp, grand piano and operatic vocals, *The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn* is very much the latest instalment in the CocoRosie mythology. With wordy songs ostensibly about vampires, werewolves and goose girls, this is Grimm territory and, as with the sisters’ fellow-new folkies such as Joanna Newsom and Devendra Banhart, there is a tweeness that has to be discarded. But once that is done, *The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn* works its magic. A mood of drowsy melancholy becomes irresistible. Sierra’s soaring vocal on ‘Houses’ is spine-tingling, while Bianca’s slow-starting ‘Werewolf’ assumes, over its five-minute course, the proportion of an epic, with both singer and companion galloping into the sunset and further wildness.

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