Listening to Skyler Cocco’s debut Reverie feels intrusive, as though we have stumbled upon her private diary and ran away with it, all too eager to ransack and devour. Written as a means of catharsis, Reverie details the singer-songwriter’s struggles with grief, depression, maturation and heartache. It is a documentation of personal anguish and personal growth, all relayed to us through a unique blaze of raging, hook-laden guitars and immaculate pop melodies.
Kicking things off is opening track ‘Parasite.’ It is an immediately catchy, toe-tapper of a song with Cocco’s effortless voice drifting over typically 90’s grunge riffs. However, it is intriguingly deceptive. Behind the facade of the tracks’ bouncy, melodic grunge-pop lays intensively emotive lyrics almost masked by the listless vocals. “Don’t you know your mother is turning in her grave?” spits Cocco before launching into her venomous chorus, “you were just a parasite, I loathe the blood I share with you.” It’s almost unnerving in a way, how catchy and upbeat the track appears at it’s exterior when it is so outright in it’s fury. It’s a very strong opener indeed.
Early released track 'Ordinary Life' is a perfect example of Cocco’s hybrid of alt-rock, grunge pop. It’s a instant sing-along song that would undoubtably go down a treat at a live show. Succeeding track 'Pretty Thieves' differs entirely, with its slow drawn out deep vocals, balanced amongst harsh riffs. It is an interesting mix of dark, almost impending instrumentals juxtaposed with an unexpectedly poppy chorus.
The anthem every young, angry woman has ever needed in her life arrives in 'I Don’t React'. Heavy, angry riffs and hard, buzzed synths coincide with seductively taunting vocals to create the perfect revenge track. Deliberately antagonistic, the track simultaneously seethes with anger yet strives for the moral high ground. It is simplistic pop lyricism which drives the song, centering on Cocco’s admission that she’s “so fucking mad” and her refusal to react. Yes, it’s essentially a lyrical contradiction but it’s a belter of a track that gets the last dig in whilst maintaining an air of moral superiority. Cocco’s repeated taunts “got no reaction” play out the track, creating the perfecting parting shot.
'Perfect Muse' is a track that you don’t expect. Ostensibly ‘just another love song’, the track begins with all the standard tropes of a pop song. Featuring simplistic lyrics about being love and the seemingly never ending cliché of both being “a bit crazy”, it is your classically, upbeat alt-rock track. The sudden dark turn would go unnoticed if not given adequate attention. Nested discretely in the almost identical chorus as before, the lyrics suddenly change as Cocco begins to chart the downfall of the relationship. Then follows darker riffs and darker tones as she sings ominously, "you will inspire me, you will be the death me, you'll be the best excuse.” Gone is the love song. Instead, Cocco turns that genre on it’s head, deforming the simple love-song into a raw, bleak portrayal of the dangerous hysteria relationships can create.
Nearing the back half of the album, we are confronted with 'Awake'. A lengthy, drawn out interlude which is both unnecessary, but also rather unpleasant. It doesn’t add anything of value to the album and it simply detracts from the quality of the first half. Luckily, following tracks 'Reverie' and the single 'Some Nerve' make up for the tangent. The title track is stellar. Haunting and ethereal, it is the perfect showcase of Cocco’s impeccable vocal. On the other hand, 'Some Nerve' is the rockiest track on the album, with it’s angry drumming and fuzzed bass.
Reverie is a well-produced and strong debut album. It excels in it’s genre play and brings a new element to the world of grunge. No song is too trite or predictable and this is wholly down to Cocco’s ability to interchange different elements seamlessly into her tracks. Her lyrics relay her story in such honesty that the emotion can be felt as though it is your own. It is a stellar debut that alt-rock, grunge and pop fans will appreciate and enjoy.
Photo Credit - Alejandra Lopez