COZY SLIPPERS – When Will When Come?

Breezy indie pop perfection

Seattle-Based indie pop outfit Cozy Slippers previously appeared on our radar back in 2019 when they appeared for a brief number of UK dates, including a slot in London (alongside the likes of Gold Baby and Macadamia Sluts).

Consisting of Barbara Barrilleaux (drums, keyboards, and vocals), Sarah Engel (bass and vocals) and Steven Skelton (guitar and keyboards), Cozy Slippers describe themselves as a band “using music to work out some issues and settle old scores.” Previous outing ‘A Million Pieces’ had a sturdy dynamism combined with vibrant pop hooks that recalled The Smiths at times.

New Cozy Slippers release ‘When Will When Come?’ embraces the band’s talent for shimmering guitar pop and firm, dynamic arrangements. Throwing a nod to surf rock, there’s something both raw yet hopeful at work here which brings to mind the likes of everything from early REM to Tacocat. The percussion is brisk with some tight guitar grooves, both driving along a breezy pop number that has an upbeat, engaging quality to it. Lines such as “Morning’s just the same/nothing surprising” roll off with a charming nonchalance.

Lyrically, the song deals with themes of embracing life, seizing opportunities and fantasising about pink flamingos. “I remember the first time I heard Sarah singing the lyrics” recalls guitarist Steven Skelton, “I thought the idea of somebody daydreaming about traveling to see flamingos was weirdly sad. Flamingos look cool, but the world has a lot of other things I’d want to see before a bunch of birds. It seemed poignant to have such a relatively small wish and still be unwilling to make it reality.”

As with many other bands, Cozy Slippers had to adapt when the Covid-19 crisis hit in 2020. Unable to record together, they still managed to work in isolation with ‘When Will When Come?’ being the first of a year’s worth of home recordings done by the band. “We started from scratch. We didn’t have any gear and hadn’t really thought about recording ourselves before” comments Sarah Engel, “It was so great to escape the stressful outside world for a while by recording and meeting on Zoom to put it all together.”

“Some of the vocals I recorded into my phone while sitting alone in my car or late at night when everybody else was asleep” remembers Barbara Barrilleaux. “It was a challenge to find space to be creative and alone time to make the recording happen during the past year.”

That forced separation might suggest that the fruits of their labour would sound hollow or disjointed. But the sound of ‘When Will When Come?’ is flawless and sounds exactly like a band in the studio grooving away together. Some of the thanks for that have to go to Dylan Wall (Versing, Great Grandpa, and High Sunn) on mixing duties, but it also highlights the fact that bands can adapt and overcome even when faced with tough challenges. 

‘When Will When Come?’ is out now:

Band photo by Paul Browne