Fittingly, opening track ‘Self Machine’ describes Coco’s constant strive to stand on her own two feet, singing ‘I’m not a human if you say I’m not.’ She might not like the pressure on her shoulders, but it seems she’s adamant not to be defeated by it.
Further in, ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’, a cover of the Neil Young classic, is, in the simplest terms possible, cheesy beyond belief. It does no justice to the creator, nor Sumner’s endearing vocals - one of the bands best assets. The track sounds like Aqua after their instruments have been submerged in water and connected to a power socket: a bang no one wants to hear. However, this isn’t really I Blame Coco.
Title-track ‘The Constant’ is as slow and boring as waiting for your name to be called in a doctor’s surgery, only to find your appointment was Thursday not Friday. However, what really throws salt in this wound is that it isn’t the first time Sumner has recorded it. The previous version was raw with its rhythm, and her voice complimented the music better than cheese compliments pineapple on cocktail sticks.
For any long term fans, you’ll remember this time as the catchy period of ‘prior to the release of her first official single and the influence of producer Klas Åhlund’ - when Sumner had power packed lyrics with nothing more than a nylon stringed accompaniment, when her pen was mightier than the sword, and her guitar was stronger than the synth. After this time strung a variety of drab songs which, although sometimes catchy and danceable, weren’t a patch on what they could and should have been.
The closest this debut comes to the ‘old Sumner’ is on ‘Summer Rain’, ‘No Smile and ‘Playwright Fate’, most notably the latter; a new song which acts as a ray of light to an otherwise supermarket tinged album - it offers a chance to taste the heavy lyrics of Sumner mixed with upbeat percussion to create the unique blend of material they are more than capable of.
‘The Constant’ isn’t painful to listen to, it’s just not pleasurable either. It feels contrived and lacks passion; perhaps, given the vocal similarities, it’s a small act of childish rebellion against the constant references to Coco’s parentage.