Cosmo Jarvis - 'Is the World Strange or am I Strange?'
Posted by Kuang on Tue, 06 Sep 2011.
Cosmo‘s first album ‘Humasyouhitch / Sonofabitch' was an epic to say the least - a self produced 18 tracker of vastly differing styles that turned your preconceptions on their head with each track. The tragedy was that many couldn‘t get over the diversity and appreciate it for what it was - a razor sharp collection of sharp social commentary and personal insight wrapped in a deliciously dark sense of humour - and so wrote it off without trying.
The potentially ‘difficult second album' clearly had some scores to settle but could well have capitulated to the lowest common denominator. Thankfully Cosmo didn‘t go along this route - it may be shorter at 11 tracks, but has lost none of the edge and still covers more sonic ground that any one artist has a right to do with such flair.
It‘s hard to collectively sum up the tracks on offer - from the shoutalong sea-shanty of ‘Gay Pirates' to the downbeat and moody spoken vibe of ‘Is The World Strange' the unifying factor is Cosmo‘s relentless and infectious energy. The ride takes in funk, pop, blues, folk, garage rock and reggae, remaining absolutely convincing throughout; there‘s a sense of multiple futures waiting to explode, any one of which would be a blast. The bluegrass stomp of ‘Blame it on Me' shines bright, and ‘The Talking Song' feels like a slinky mashup of the Stereo MCs and the Dust Junkys with a story to tell. ‘My Day' is an epic, musically schizophrenic stormer - perhaps the sum total of everything that makes Cosmo‘s approach work, condensed into a moshpit friendly whole.
Throughout all this Cosmo‘s additional experience as producer gained since his debut is clear - there was nothing at all wrong with that, but his approach here feels sharper and closer to the spirit of each track. Each is handled with a sensitivity that can only come from being so tight with the material, whilst remaining consistent as a whole - not an easy task.
There‘s no doubt in my mind that Cosmo has surpassed the (generally unfair) criticisms levelled at him following his debut and produced something great that‘s awash with his personality but that doesn‘t talk down to the crowd. ‘Is the World Strange or am I Strange' is a genuinely likable and quirky collection of tracks, at least one of which will always fit the situation, and I‘m not sure I can‘t think of any other artist who can pull that off.