It’s been almost five years since the release of Kiwi musician Connan Mockasin’s last record, Caramel, and although he has popped up from time to time with friends such as Mac Demarco and MGMT, he has been pretty quiet since 2016’s Soft Hair (his collaboration with Sam Dust).
Mockasin is finally making his long-awaited comeback, bringing us his first full-band album Jassbusters, which is to be released on the 12th of October. The album is a concept album designed to be listened to after watching the five-part melodramatic film he created, Bostyn ’n Dobsyn. The album’s concept is that it was made by a band of music teachers, fronted by Bostyn. For people new to Mockasin, the album may seem pretty far out, but whilst still taking us on a journey into his weird and wonderful world, for those familiar with his previous work, the album may seem a little tamer for him.
The album starts off with ‘Charlotte’s Thong’, a song which is rumoured to be about singer and actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, who Mockasin has previously worked with. However, as the album is supposed to be written by a group of music teachers, I’m not sure how true that is. The nine-minute-long track introduces listeners softly to the sound of the record but keeps to his surrealism. We already start to feel that this record is going to be far more mellow than some of his previous work. In the next track ‘Momo’s’, Mockasin’s soft-rock approach really comes through. With smooth vocals and chorus-covered guitar riffs, the song sounds as though it could’ve been taken right out of the 60’s. Mockasin is accompanied by another singer throughout this track, who perhaps portrays the part of Dobsyn.
Hazy ‘Last Night’ starts off with a conversation “late night was it?” “sorry I’m late”, continuing the Bostyn and Dobsyn story. Mockasin’s strong Michael Jackson influence is highlighted throughout this song, particularly through his inimitable vocal range. The unique vocals and dreamy guitar combine to make the perfect Connan Mockasin masterpiece. The next track is an ambient instrumental, with spoken, “you could do anything to get good grades. Anything.”, again adding to the plot. We then come to ‘Con Conn Was Impatient’, the first track released from the album. This floating fantasy has evident similarities to Mac Demarco’s music, but as always, includes a Mockasin edge.
The album glides on through ‘B’nD’ and ‘Sexy Man’, finishing off with ‘Les Be Honest’, the perfect track to bring this ethereal album to a close. Although a slightly new sound for Mockasin, the record has perfectly depicted the concept he was aiming for, whilst also giving listeners some beautiful dreamy music to enjoy.