Amsterdam Moon by The Coo is a short collection of five simple, home-made beautifully contemplative songs recorded live in April 2019 in a former synagogue in Amsterdam.
Release Date: 15th May 2020
Label: Listen Records
Not many of you will have come across The Coo. They’re a duo comprising London-based Matt Arthur and Amsterdam resident Jara Holdert. They met in 2016 and they’ve spent much of their time since then hanging out and composing music via social media and, when finance and circumstances permit, getting together to perform.
Amsterdam Moon is the duo’s first recorded product and it really is very pleasant. The instrumentation is very simple – just guitar and what sounds like a ukulele, but could equally be another guitar…. They’re well played and perfectly suited to the songs, which are delivered in delightful 2-part harmony by Matt and Jara, both of whom have lovely voices.
The press release which accompanied the EP makes claims of similarity to, amongst others, Carole King, James Taylor, Gram Parsons, Angus and Julia Stone and Big Thief. I’m sure about the validity of some of these claims, at least, on the evidence of this EP. It is, however, very clear that the duo have listened to lot of Joni Mitchell’s early output and to the David Crosby axis of CSN&Y and their influences permeate the record, particularly so on the standout If Only. My advice to The Coo would be to forget about the comparisons – the sound is very much of their own making; tuneful, relaxing and the perfect supplement to a lazy summer afternoon.
Whilst the overall theme – harmonised vocals and gentle guitar – is consistent throughout the collection, the songs are structurally quite varied. From the atmospheric Low Country Girl, through the slow, reflective Something’s Turned, onto the Crosbyesque If Only, the upbeat, optimistic Rosie, and finishing with the restful Baby Won’t You Please, the collection is a delight and something that you will want to play over and over again.
The Amsterdam Moon EP is released on Just Listen Records on 15 May and, as the label name suggests, just – give it a listen!
Listen to If Only here: