Cosmonautical's latest album Talking To People You Don't Know is the kind of album that reminds me why I love delving into indie artists. I'm wary of putting a genre label on what they've got here. I don't want anyone who hasn't listened to the album to attempt any expectation. This is an album of offbeat surprises and serves as a real palate cleanser to mainstream humdrum. It's an alternative rock album, but not in the trendy sense. This particular alternative adheres more to its classical meaning. I love it in the way I love grunge, and while there are some grunge elements here, that is by no means the only defining characteristic of their sound. The group is headquartered in Oregon and that doesn't shock me at all. That state houses a collective music scene that has always managed to impress me.
The band released an EP a while ago and they have stated they feel this album is an improvement on that project. I personally feel as though they have dug in and found their sound. One of the big elements of this is dichotomy. You get these big, poppy and powerful guitar riffs. There's high energy there and then it collides with the bittersweet vocal style and lyrics. This is something that was carefully threaded through out the whole album holding nicely together. Not everything is high energy on the album. There's eleven tracks in total and I would say there is a good balance of hi and lo-fi action. I am also quite fond of their instinct to experiment and wrestle with these energies in a single song. I also appreciate their sense of composure. Even when they are exerting large busts of energy, they're not afraid to let a song go as long as it takes to get the whole thought out. I also never felt any of these songs really needed to be edited back and that's always a good sign.
This album was a studio project done at The Firing Room. I'll admit, I was somewhat convinced as I listened to the album that this might be another DIY wonder. I can tell that audio engineering elements were kept on a somewhat uniform level, which at first I was not in love with, however it grew on me. With all these fantastical ideas, the production put a thin layer over everything to keep it sounding raw and unpolished. Sort of like a slightly foggy fuzz that complements the raw nature of the band's musicianship. I also can't help but feel like myself and production are probably in love with the same ’90s alt bands that no one remembers. They took the best of that era without making this album sound dated. It was smart.
I like this album for anyone looking for something a little off the wall, but still familiar. All the elements of the current alt rock scene that I love are in here. It just feels like they've been rearranged somehow and it works. Check this one out, it's a solid buy for me.
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