Yellow Ostrich are back, with an album named ‘Cosmos’; aside of the spiritual and intellectual mumbo jumbo, it takes its name from Sagan’s 1980 PBS series. The band’s latest record is an expansion of Yellow Ostrich’s alternative rock, mixing their heavily influenced guitar music with hazy electronic pop. It was engineered by Beau Sorenson and mixed by Paul Kolderie, of Death Cab for Cutie and Radiohead respectively. Band members Alex Schaaf and Michael Tapper recruited Zach Rose and Jared van Fleet for this new project.
The opening track, ‘Terrors’, is an exceedingly good song. It captures the essence of the album without so much as the third note being struck. It is at once psychedelic, garage sounding and dark. The lyrics are as poetic as rock music will allow, even overshooting the runway in the right direction. ‘Neon Fists’ has a Radiohead like quality to it, which has never been a bad thing in my books. Paul Kolderie’s influence has clearly been put to good use. ‘Shades’ delves headfirst back into good old rock n roll, with guitars again becoming the center point of the music. It is deeply fuzzy, matching Schaaf’s vocals perfectly, before breaking down into a weird ensemble of pianos and chaotic guitar solos. ‘You Are The Stars’ is a little cliché in my opinion, but hey who doesn’t love a little love? ‘In The Dark’ is quite simply a haunting track. The atmospheric value, and strangely struck instruments create an ambience second to none. Ending as it started, ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ is the epitome of the album; really fucking dreamy.
Yellow Ostrich are one hell of a crazy mismatch. ‘Cosmos’ is the patched together beauty of hybrid. Being sentimental, rather mental, poetic and punchy, Cosmos is one hell of an album. Lyrically, it is perhaps the best I have heard this year. The band clearly has a talent for songwriting. Yellow Ostrich have a brilliantly dark and omniscient sound, and that is quite possibly the reason they sound so good. No band has experimented like this in a long, long time. 8.5/10