Antony Hegarty's Meltdown is decidedly gender-political. In curating the event, the New York singer has chosen artists who he feels embrace "oestrogen-based thinking", and summarises the bill he has assembled – primarily art-pop with the emphasis heavily on the first syllable – as "mainly ecstatic female voices, with a few queens thrown in".
That remit certainly encompasses CocoRosie, the US freak-folk and fractured dream-pop band based around the half-Cherokee sisters Sierra and Bianca Casady. During the last decade, the duo have crafted precious music that frequently spirals off into pretentiousness, yet boasts a fierce beauty at its cluttered core.
Backed by a three-man band supplying electronics and human beatboxing, the sisters are a marked visual contrast. Dressed like a burlesque scientist, Sierra is possessed of a keening, powerful operatic trill that she unleashes while strumming a harp. Bianca resembles a goth attendee at Ascot and alternates haunting, husky whispers with helium-voiced rapping. Their forte is magical-realism pop pitched at the juncture where kooky spills into spooky. Their fragile songs appear to be held together by gossamer, yet are surprisingly sturdy: Sierra's imploring vocal, which evokes both Kate Bush and Diamanda Galás, is lovely on jazzy new track Daisy Chain, while Bianca's Björk-like growl illuminates the through-the-looking-glass pop of Smokey Taboo.
Hercules and Love Affair-affiliated transgender singer Nomi Ruiz joins the Casadys to croon through their former Antony collaboration, Beautiful Boyz, as the stage disintegrates into a sea of beatific beams and wafty dancing. For an art-pop band as contrary and uneven as CocoRosie to earn two fervent standing ovations, Meltdown is doing something very right.
Burgess Powers makes this site visible across the web with intelligent, organic SEO - contact for details