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Kosi: One More Cup Of Coffee

Chris Mosey By

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In her own words, Kosi is "a New York born and bred singer-songwriter with nappy hair and jazz roots."

She is the author of a stream-of-consciousness blog about her life of which the following is an extract: "I haven't washed my hair or shaved my arm pits (sic). I've brushed my teeth, but I haven't eaten. I'm still wearing the same clothes from yesterday. I meant to do laundry a few days ago, but I haven't gotten around to it. Instead I spray my dress down with pachoulli (sic) and vinegar. I smell like a marijuana salad."

In such a state, Kosi—real name Akosua Gyebi—gigs with a gifted guitarist named Aron Marchak. This is her—their—first album. On her blog she likens the experience of making it to damnation: "Hell is the worst of all private moments in secluded studio booths magnified into eternity."

As self-produced first albums go, it's really not that bad. Her expectations were a mite too high, that's all. She quotes Leonard Bernstein on the cover: "To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time."

She has a really good voice and, as a writer, tries to be honest. She does enough here to show she's a serious future contender. One problem is the album opens with such a bang—a quite stunning wordless vocal of Charlie Mingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat"—that anything that follows is destined to be a downer. Another, graver problem is that Kosi's own songs are unremittingly depressing, evoking ashtrays overflowing with butts and the reek of stale alcohol.

The title song, based on a simple bass riff, is about a failed sexual encounter, "Little Miss Generous" about a girl who plucks out her fingernails and eyebrows and gives them away, while "The Coldest Summer" is a metaphor for a failed love affair and "Karen" a nightmarish exploration of illusion and alter ego. Vernon Duke's "Autumn In New York" comes as a relief but gets a decidedly edgy work-out.

Afterwards, it's back to that overflowing ashtray and a hungover heroine looking for love on the mean streets of Manhattan. Melodically, "The Last Shot" is the most interesting number on the album though the lyrics again rake over the residue of a night on the tiles. On "Once And Future," Kosi proclaims over and over again "It's not over." Though, mercifully, after an unflagged 11th song about— guess what?— unrequited love, it at long last is.

Shave your armpits, girl; get a life. Then, maybe: great things.

Track Listing: Goodbye Pork Pie Hat; One More Cup of Coffee; Little Miss Generous; The Coldest Summer; Karen; Autumn in New York; Need Your Love; The Last Shot; Marlene; Once and Future; (Uncredited track, untitled).

Personnel: Kosi: vocals, guitar (9); Aron Marchak: guitar (1-8, 10-11).

Title: One More Cup of Coffee | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Kosi-sings


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