Dr Cosmo’s Tape Lab – Beyond the Silver Sea [Sugarbush]

Well, early contender for longest album of the year here – in terms of sheer number of tracks.

Though not quite reaching the dizzying numerical heights of 40 More Reasons to Hate Us by AxCx (the polite name for ’em) that was pushed in my direction recently, it does at least have a reasonable shot with 24 tracks split between spoken word vocals – called ‘narrative’ here – and that singing stuff; all backed up with lo-fi but enthusiastic instrumental bouncing.

 

And mental it all is: a sort of psyche journey starting God knows where and ending up… well, somewhere else.

Initially the brain child of Joe Kane (The Owsley Sunshine, Only Joe Kane) and Stuart Kidd (BMX Bandits, The Wellgreen), the duo are joined here by Adam Smith (The Plimptons) who provides the aforementioned narration for a magical mystery romp to here there and everywhere: all in a jolly natured style.

If you were to throw styles at it I guess you would say it is a bit psyche pop – via some sci-fi via some gentle mundanity (in terms of human life) – but all in it’s such a singular endeavour the most accurate entrance fee is a listen to their stuff on Bandcamp: or divvy up some kind of pie-eyed, psychedelic octopus with a happy countenance and a knowing nod.

There’s legs aplenty plundering snippets from groove-backed poetic musings to soaring pop melodies in a Monkees vibe: I could have sworn we were about to break into ‘Age of Aquarius’ too at one point, but I think the rabbit hole was dragging me in by then.

By the time ‘Pie, Mash and Liquor’ comes in and gets all Only Fools and Horses on your ass all bets are off.

The spoken-word aspects sound a bit like Ewan McGregor a la Trainspotting, but with more whimsy and less effing and blinding; the musings of the protagonist, Max, as he meanders through this parallel universe, hold the album together and are the column around which this netherworld of beautiful lunacy is created.

All in, forward looking, backward looking and pretty damned unique across the board.

Although entirely bonkers and most definitely worth your examination, do not get the impression this is whackiness in excelsis; songs like ‘The Mirrors Reflection’ are tuneful and simple; a highlight right there.

Having perused some promo videos from the band there’s only one reasonable conclusion; give these fellows a television show immediately – with a huge recording studio out back.

A curio and a delight.

Words: Andrew Morrison

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