[26 November 2012]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Chris Cohen has bounced around in bands like Deerhoof and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti for years, so how fitting that late 2012 gives us records from all three. Cohen’s Overgrown Path is a mash-up of his far-flung musical past, a gauzy record full of layers that seem to simultaneously fade and swell toward you at the same time. “Monad” spreads out on warm pianos and jazzy drum fills, while “Caller no. 99” is much leaner psych-pop. “Inside a Seashell” is fittingly borderless and watery, while “Heartbeat” dries out Cohen’s ringing guitars into dusty desert space.
The album is full of far-flung variations on a hazy theme, but when its strengths lie in firm drum foundations and clear guitar hooks, its penchant for soft-rock atmosphere saps the songs of some of their energy. Spacier takes like “Inside a Seashell” and “Solitude” may feature Cohen’s rangy croon, but they also have wandering melodies that never quite assert themselves the way the best stuff here does. Overgrown Path is clearly a confident record from a music lifer, though its heavy fuzzy layers and more eccentric moments sound more like unfinished trials than fruitful experiments.