Review: The Cosmic Dead – S/T

Steady drum rhythms, reverberant wah pedal guitar leads, outer-space synthesisers, and the fuzzy hum of monotonous basslines. The Cosmic Dead is a collection of instrumental psychedelic jams, and never is there any implication that the band desire to create anything but. On one hand, it’s not exactly an ambitious or particularly inspired work – this is music that exists as a tribute to its influences, rather than expanding upon them and incorporating fresh ideas – but The Cosmic Dead still play this material as though they unearthed this sound themselves, and the album buzzes with positive energy from start to finish.

Three “shorter” pieces occupy side A (two of them comfortably pass the 10-minute mark), and exhibit The Cosmic Dead at their most immediate and hook-driven. “The Black Rabbit” and “The Infinite Death of the Godhead” embark on constant, upbeat psychedelic ascensions, leaving bass and drums in anchoring loops and sending improvised guitar spiralling out of orbit. The band interplay operates on the same sonic telepathy used by all good improv-jam outfits, allowing them to up the tempo and drop back into quiet with an effortless fluidity. As said previously, there’s nothing on show here that hasn’t been seen on countless occasions elsewhere, but it’s clear that The Cosmic Dead are far too zoned out to care.

A 40-minute monolith occupies the other side. A drum groove stutters into being in the opening stages, as the other instruments tentatively establish a foothold. Unlike the other pieces, which strike upon a single idea and hammer it home, “Father Sky, Mother Earth” staggers into various different grooves throughout its playing time, as though lured into new directions by the various shimmering mirages that lay at the end of them. It’s the strongest track by far – occasionally resembling an trippy, astral version of Om – and does well to adjust its pace and dynamic to keep the momentum flowing throughout. Enjoyable stuff.