Connan Mockasin - Caramel

Picking a highlight on this album is almost as tricky as picking which Pokémon to begin a quest with.

Label: Phantasy


We see clouds every day from the ground, wispy little bundles of pulled cotton floating against the blue, flattened out like a photograph wrapped round in a sphere. Maybe that’s why it’s always so surreal to be inside a cloud. Unless you’re Rihanna, constantly jetting around in your Boeing 777, the novelty never wears thin. It’s one of the simplest pleasures of the world, being cuddled by candyfloss in the sky.
Connan Mockasin’s ‘Caramel’, is up in the clouds too, bobbing gently on a undercurrent of ebbing turbulence, with misty melodies lighter than air. ‘Why Are You Crying’ is filled with gasps of condensation on cold glass. ‘It’s Your Body’, the drawn-out oozing middle of ‘Caramel’ is strewn over five parts, continually evolving. First it sounds like musical jetlag, deliciously lethargic and propelled by erratic twangs of guitar. Then it morphs into oddball underwater lift jazz, and then pentatonic synths cloaked in a layer of scuzz and abrasive jet engines. By the end, he’s utilising every special effect on his keyboard, effortlessly gliding into a hazy, directionless jam. He even uses excitable chanting, and a woman saying “thank you” repeatedly, before a monotone male voice leads into yet another squelching jam, ‘Roll With You’ -complete with token moans. 
Bizzare ‘Caramel’ might be, but it packs more than its fair share in the pop welly department. ‘I’m The Man, That Will Find You’ bends soul and funk through a weird triangular prism of otherworldly weirdness. It’s a definite progression, building upon of the tripped out psychadelia of Hosford’s debut album. Most importantly, though, it’s got a tenderness at its core that is really quite arresting. ‘Forever Dolphin Love’ was a burst vivid colour, but it was trapped behind glass in an aquarium, with one degree of separation. This time, on ‘Caramel’ there’s an intimacy to what Mockasin sings – when he lulls “tell me that you’ll never leave me/tell me the way that you need me” on the outstanding ‘Do I Make You Feel Shy’, it’s believable. Picking a highlight on this album is almost as tricky as picking which Pokemon to begin a quest with, but when it comes to it, this particular track just edges it.
Connan Mockasin takes the idea of being eccentric and throws it to skyward realms on this record – literally anything goes, and largely it works out beautifully. ‘Caramel’ is certainly a strange album, but it’s not alienating or difficult to engage with.