Cocoanut Groove's second album, 2013's How to Build a Maze, finds the band's leader joined by a group for the first time and together they craft some truly lovely indie pop that's highly arranged, affecting, and reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel fronting the Left Banke as reimagined by the Clientele. Plus a little moody '60s jangle pop to boot. As before, Olov Antonsson handles guitar with a light touch, vocals with a richly understated sweetness, and songs with a sure-handed skill. His band of like-minded cohorts color in the lovely songs with gentle horns, full vocal harmonies, percussion, and nice surprises like harpsichord and vintage keys. It's a classic indie pop sound that's been done and done again, but Antonsson and crew manage to make it sound fresh and new in a pleasantly autumnal way. Alternating between songs that have a happy skip in their step and those that have some clouds in their sky, the album is never anything less than a warm embrace of melody and tenderness. At its best, as on the smartly paced "A Secret Tune" or the Byrdsian title track, the band stake their claim as heir to the great indie pop groups of the past (Belle & Sebastian, East Village). That the whole album is made up of moments that have that kind of timeless feel means that Cocoanut Groove have done something special here. Hopefully, indie pop fans will be able to get past their amazingly awful name and embrace as they should, the lovely pop that Cocoanut Groove have made here.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra