Michael Cosstick is an artist from Australia who recently released Empty Dreams. The album is all over the place stylistically and has songs that work well and other songs that well were just kind of confusing.
Before we get into the songs. I have to mention this is a DIY effort and Cosstick did the mixing. It’s quite often that you see a lot of amateur engineers who boost high frequencies. That's what you get here. You may at first think it helps and sounds more clear but it actually doesn’t allow you to blast the music loud because your ears will bleed.
The things I found confusing on some of the songs was the juxtaposed elements. I felt like the songs tried rocking out but Cosstick’s singing style sounds like he's whispering yet yelling. It is hard to put it into words; you just have to hear it. That on top of that arrangements feels like the songs are on the verge of rocking out but never get there.
Take for instance ”Against the tide” and “Cold front.” There is so much going on but the songs never feel like they coalesce. I have to admit that I wasn’t feeling much emotion from the first two songs. Luckily, the third “Empty dreams” fares better. It opens with a powerful piano and transitions to a ballad. This is far and away a better vocal performance then the first two songs. The song has a bit of ’80s prom vibe but worked fine. “Excuses” takes advantage of a lot of distortion while “Fading to Black” is another ballad type song.
Cosstick has some talent but has plenty of things he can improve upon. First and foremost he should ease up on his singing. He delivers his slower ballads well but when it comes to the more rockin' songs he stresses his vocals in some odd way where it's like he is gasping for air and whispering. I’d also like to hear some more bass on these songs as I think it could help in the mix with his vocals
His slower, more traditional ballads are his strength but Cosstick should try a slightly different approach on his more intense material.
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