ALBUM REVIEW: Coco & Clair Clair explore a new dimension to their sound on ‘Sexy’

Posted on 5 November 2022
By Angbeen Abbas
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Having made a name for themselves as the group for dressing hot and being a little delusional, Coco & Clair Clair have been making waves since 2017’s ‘Posh’ put them on the map.

The Atlanta-based duo, who have opened for Turnstile and collaborated with Clairo and Deaton Chris Anthony, formed in 2014 and have risen to fame off of slyly addictive singles such as ‘Knife Play’ and ‘Pretty’.

Their airy beats of cloud rap mixed with breathy vocals and reverb on dream-pop tracks work in their favour and with the release of ‘Sexy’, the pair have created an album that’s smart, well-made, and resolutely for the girls to hype themselves up to.

Featuring acts like Porches, Marjorie Sinclair, Deela and Deto Black, ‘Sexy’ explores a new dimension to their sound, one that pairs hazy vocals and witty rap verses with production that is cleaner and slicker than ever before without sounding over-produced.

Rapping over breakbeats and syncopated bells, the album opens with ‘Cherub’, one of its lead singles, channelling a mean girl aesthetic that you can’t help but admire. It’s not an album heavy on samples the way cloud rap usually is, but the way it utilises fuzzy synths and MIDI instrumentation gives the album the vibe of something from a bygone MySpace era.

From ‘Cherub’, the duo party-hop on ‘Bad Lil Vibe’ and ‘The Hills’, rapping about Tuesday hangovers and an endless stream of champagne. It’s an album for the streets and for eviscerating haters, exemplified by the Marjorie Sinclair feature ‘Bitches’ that’s tempered by softer tracks like ‘U + Me’ and ‘Love Me’.

For an album that is still rooted in the lo-fi beats that they’re known for, Coco & Clair Clair’s sound is more coherent in their second album mixed with a greater clarity about where they’re headed. It’s an album that encourages being unapologetic and arrogant while capturing the carefree, chilled-out energy of making beats in your dorm room with your best friend.

It’s also the album that sees their writing at its best. Part of Coco & Clair Clair’s popularity, especially on TikTok, comes from their ability to write verses that are witty, cutting, and brimming with pop culture references.

Lines like “Imma Jordin Sparks you / That’s right, no air” on ‘Cherub’ and “Girl built like a vape pen and think that she compare” on ‘Bitches’ are endlessly quotable and delivered with airy vocals over production that’s bubbly yet a little dark. What really endears you to them, however, is the flashes of vulnerability, as Coco’s distorted voice raps “Even when I’m out / It’s you I think about” on ‘U + Me’ and Clair Clair yearns for affection on ‘Love Me’ as she questions “Do you want me? / If you had me, would you flaunt me?”

At the same time, some parts of the album don’t quite land. For one, clocking in at just a little over 30 minutes, it feels as though we don’t get to delve deeper into their sound, which feels disappointing for an album where the duo have only just begun to establish it.

Tracks like ‘8 Am’ and ‘Tbtf’ feel more like imitations of their own work in some parts than individual pieces that can hold their own. It’s in the slower moments of both where it feels like they’re losing steam, but the duo manage to pick up the pace, ending the album with ‘Pop Star’, an effervescent and dreamy track that was initially released as a single in 2020.

While there may be room for them to grow as an act, ‘Sexy’ is a promising sophomore album for the duo and one that’s definitely worthy of many revisits. The pairs cheeky self-obsession exhibits how they only have time for each other and though Coco & Clair Clair may not be looking to reinvent the genres they blend together, they clearly know how to have a good time which is always worth something.

Coco & Clair Clair’s second album ‘Sexy’ is out now.
3/5