Album Review: Indie/Alternative – Yellow Ostrich “Cosmos” Out Today via Barsuk

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Yellow Ostrich Cosmos

Rating: 4.0/5

Yellow Ostrich’s Cosmos is a work driven by dense guitars, piercing vocals (think Dodos and Ben Bridwell at times), and tastefully placed electronic instrumentation which leans more towards a theme than a concept. Exploration of things greater than ourselves will always lead to the stars, and that’s a slippery slope. If the sheer vastness of the heavens wasn’t overwhelming enough, add every fleeting moment and the meaning of it all. As Cosmos illustrates, when one ponders his tiny existence after being inspired by astronomers Carl Sagan and Frank Drake that person will progress through many stages fostered by uncertainty. Cue… “Terrors” an imaginative piece driven by the view of a small and distant humanity from outer space. The wispy verse arrangement seems to be the solace that one would find in such a view but quickly the chorus interrupts the narrative with rhythmic distorted guitar as the line “I am the terrors in your eyes,” encompasses all senses and thoughts. This mixture of texture and menacing rhythm exemplifies uneasiness and leads perfectly into “Neon Fists” where Alex Schaaf (Y.O singer/guitarist) pleads to know that someone has everything in control because he surely does not. “Shades” is the stand out track on Cosmos with a riff that functions as an electronic warning signal carrying the messages “I can build any universe for you” and “Just try to close your eyes… Pull the shades down and never let go” which seems to come directly from the ominous building blocks of life.

As all intention points to an album dedicated to recognizing the uncontrollable unknown there are moments in which the album focuses inward. With each passing moon in, “My Moons,” Schaaf welcomes the chance to reflect and yearn for, what I translate as, a smile that he once carried during a more peaceful time. “Can you build me a bigger house? Can you work from the inside out?” is indicative of an individual seeking the strength needed to overcome his battle with a potentially meaningless existence.

Any Wonder” functions as a gripping second standout in the form an alternative rock track with krautrock tendencies heard in the pocketed collaboration of the rhythm section.

How Do You Do It?” is a nod to a Band of Horses B-side. And would that ever be a bad thing?

When listening to “Things are Fallin’” one is ushered into impending chaos – and half way through the drums kick in signifying the arrival of forecasted danger.

Driving guitars and eclectic concepts as a band finds their way through space, time, and music. Cosmos finds a sonic balance between live and electronic instrumentation. If you’re looking for an indie rock album that is more progressive than a nod to yesterday, than you should pick up Cosmos here.

-RL, Can I May I

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