Cocoa Sugar is the third album by Edinburgh hip-hop threesome Young Fathers. It follows on from the critically acclaimed second album White Men Are Black Men Too and the single Only God Knows which featured on the soundtrack to Trainspotting 2. It’s available on CD and two vinyl versions - coloured, indies only limited edition (for which you will have to be quick!) and black vinyl.
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 07 March 2018
Once causing me to choke on a shreddie when seeing them being announced as Mercury Music Prize winners, Young Fathers are one of the very few winners of that mystical prize to actually be any good and also to keep making good records and not immediately going down the spout. Part of the reason for this is the self contained environment they work in - holed up in Edinburgh far away from the music industry machine they can steer clear of the bright lights and the ill-advised collaborations that seem to taint less self assured artists.
Though 'Cocoa Sugar' was an attempt by the trio to 'normalise' their sound there's no real change here from their previous records. Their idiosyncrasies are still on show for all to see even on stunningly catchy tracks like 'In My View' - the burundi influenced drumming, the oddball samples and the range of voices are still intact. At their best the band sound like they have furthered and successfully updated the sound TV on the Radio blueprinted with their first couple of EPs. They also veer into darker moments that make them come across like Massive Attack's younger brothers.
However there are a few missteps. 'Lord' despite it's sonic adventures is just too reminiscent of a standard X Factor ballad to sit comfortably amongst the odd rhythmic pulse found elsewhere and the chorus of 'Holy Ghost' is just a bit too obvious for this usually inventive band. They make up for any weak moments though with tracks like 'Wow' a pulsating piece of electro that serves as an ear shredder for the bits that don't quite get there.
Looking at reviews elsewhere the usual hyperbole needs to be tempered somewhat. This is another strong Young Fathers album made slightly weaker on the moments they try to burst out of their comfort zone. You can't blame them for that though. There's still plenty of ideas to go round and some stellar moments to truly inspire.
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- Cocoa Sugar by Young Fathers
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