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Cosmos - Mind Games CD (album) cover





3.68 | 62 ratings

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4 stars Cosmos is a Swiss group that has a particular fondness for classic Pink Floyd, perhaps close to Airbag from Norway, which only continues to prove that Floyd has a way of inspiring musicians the world over. All the specific details are there, the bleeding guitar smothered in blues-effects, the rolling organ and synth backdrops, a muscular yet simple bass guitar and a metronome beat that only wishes to obey the pulse. The vocals are generally hushed giving the female vocalists a fairly large chunk of the spotlight. The result is a most pleasant journey into a musical land obscured by a few clouds and reverential disposition. If you are looking for some newfangled 'flavor of the month future sound of rock', this will not be your stereophonic paradise, so please move on. If you are okay with overt influences, then be my guest and indulge in some "Mind Games".

shrouded "Contact" starts off impressively, axe meister Oliver Maier has the Gilmour deal down to a science, while keyboardist Daniel Eggenberger sweeps his colorations along. Drummer/vocalist Reto Iseli thumps loopingly along as his confrere Heiko Garm carves some thick bass lines. Moody, atmospheric and ethereal, the spirits bloom in a slow motion that seduces inexorably, in definitely comfortable expanses that we all know and love. There are some genial moments here such as the scavenging bass amid the vocoder vocals, which though hardly original, is still riveting to these ears. The mellotron outro is super cool.

The following "Skygarden" is almost a segue, a similar flowing mood keeps the cross hairs on the target, the male voice (Iseli) very near David Gilmour territory, as Maier shows off his learned skills on the guitar. To be frank, his tone is a tad more concrete and hard that the Floyd man.

On "Lost Years" the shift is definitely blues-based, lyrics about 'rock n roll stars playing a mean guitar', drenched in both nostalgia and melancholia, the infusion of electric piano and hushed female backing vocals give the extended axe solo even more emphasis, tortured strings and sizzling rhythms. Garm propels this piece nicely yet firmly, a delightful ride.

Pinging synthesizers and scuffling guitars certainly shift this into unPink territory, "Freak Show" offers choppy beats, gurgling rhythms and all kinds of variations that turn this into another guitar solo spot, where the tradition comes through the clouds. The female lead vocals come as a pleasant surprise, a jaunty affair that again delivers some interesting reactions.

Electric piano leads the jazzy urban cool of "No Point of Living", making one believe that this is some lost 10cc track, until that massive wallop guitar enters the fray, shoving this into the stratosphere with flaming despair, mattressed by some dense choir vocals. This confrontation between jazz, pop, blues and space is enjoyable and fun.

The brief "Hollow Man" is probably closer to PF than many of the other tracks, though it does own a harder delivery, chugging riffs notwithstanding. This is almost like a potential single for FM airplay, a superb song that has all the goods needed to stick in one's mind, especially the incredible lady vocals and the searing solo that only confirms the bliss.

The highlight track for many listeners will be "Paranoia", a thickly distinctive beat, ticking and tocking incessantly, a sense of Kafkaesque numbness, with a slowly morphing electric guitar appearance, pools of echoing e-piano, rippling synths, pained voices and forlorn vocals that hint at Waters. Play this to an unsuspecting friend and he would have bet his shirt and tie that this was part of the Endless River sessions. Maier unleashes a doozie and we all wonder who the hell is behind our back, ready to strike.

The sizzling "There Are a Million Reasons" is quite incongruous in that its starts off in uncharted territory, an original build-up that fuses smoky jazz and more urban blues, forming it into a heady concoction that flashes through, unafraid. I was thinking classic Manfred Mann's Earth Band there for a while until that darned e-piano really got my attention, a delicious innovation that shows off incredible versatility. Maybe my favorite piece here. "Close to the Edge" is not the Yes track, though the thought was exciting for a second. It's in fact a somber piece, doom and gloom not shying from the attention, a quirky guitar phrasing, low key piano insanity and guest Mirjiam Heggendorn's sweet vocals. The Garm bass steadies the star-ship, perfectly balanced and resolute.

The longest and perhaps the finest piece here is the finale "Sequences", clocking in over 8 minutes, and it has that menacing rumble of "One of These Days", easily one of PF's classic tracks, certainly in terms of build-up, spiraling into a radical guitar exercise that has all sorts of delirious benefits. Iseli and Garm push this along with sturdy determination, a most enjoyable voyage indeed.

This is an album that will engender a complete cross-section of opinions, eschewing any kind of conformity, some will love it, others hating it , while some just agreeing to its natural delivery. In lieu of Floyd's recent activity, this should not come across as either plagiarism or hindrance, just a quartet of Swiss musicians who really dig the Flying Pig and enjoy wearing their idols influence on their sleeves.

4 head toys

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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