“I’m not in this for money or fame, I’m purely in it cos I love making music,” Coco Sumner told the Telegraph earlier this year. Of course she is. As the daughter of Sting and Trudie Styler, Sumner had a life of luxury and celebrity presented to her on a silver platter. But don’t let that, or the fact that she’s a 20 year old who models for Burberry and regularly sits in the front row at London Fashion Week, cloud your judgment of her band, I Blame Coco’s, debut album The Constant. Sumner wants you to forget everything you know about her upbringing. All you need to know is that she was discovered by an Island Records A&R man at an intimate gig in a North London barbershop. Which is all very well and good, until you press ‘play’. Closing your eyes, you could be listening to a pubescent Sting, voice-mid-breaking, still toying with song writing and coming out with absurd lyrics such as ‘he’s going to a land where mice grow on trees’. In fact, Coco Sumner has been honing her composition skills since she was ‘about 13’, and has been playing various instruments since she progressed from SMA to cow’s milk. Sumner’s genetic make-up is particularly evident on ‘No Smile’ where she declares she ‘promised I would constantly love you/until the day I die’ to a syncopated, Police-inspired beat. After an eye-opening pilgrimage to Sweden (Abba is Coco’s guilty pleasure), the band travelled to Jamaica to record the album, despite Sumner claiming to have abandoned her early ska-influenced style. The outcome is certainly less Kingston, Jamaica and more Kingston-upon-Thames. That’s not to say it’s completely dire. Regular Radio 1 listeners have probably already found themselves humming along to ‘Caesar’, featuring Swedish pop princess Robyn, which is far removed from the tedious beats that Greg James et al play 24/7. After all, you wouldn’t hear JLS chanting ‘It’s the Lord of the Flies all over again’. ‘Quicker’ seems set to follow in this success, with its ‘80s influenced keyboard and synths, whilst ‘Please Rewind’ will doubtlessly appear on the next 90210 soundtrack, and before you know it, Sumner will be the most successful Coco in America since Hershey bars, and teens across the world will be emulating her greasy, Patti Smith-esque locks.
From Issue 230 (8/11/10) of Epigram, Bristol Uni’s student newspaper. To read the rest of the Music section, click here.