Review by Kent Manthie
On the debut solo album from former bassist for Mr. Elevator, Jonny Kosmo has gone his own way. That is, he’s made an album that reflects what he’s about, not collaborating with a band, being part of a “team”, so to speak. On his break-out debut he seems to be quite comfortable as well as a pretty good songwriter.
More than just another pop record, Jonny Kosmo has an amalgam of interesting styles. The album begins with “Prelude”, something to prep the listener for what’s to come. After this pop overture things get rolling with “Come Down to Get Down”; poppy, sure, but at the same time more intricate than typical pop fluff one hears on the radio. The result is an infectious jingle that can worm its way into your subconscious. Jonny Kosmo is filled with what would probably be filed under “pop”, yet I found that the label “pop” is far too delimiting to pin on Jonny. It’s got some cheeky grooves, some rough edges that have been smoothed out with some lounge-colored jazz-inflections as well as some dynamite hooks and catchy sounds. It’s hard to pick out just a couple examples of tracks from Jonny Kosmo since there are so many great ones from which to choose. As far as the ones which were most pleasing to my ear, ‘Jessica Triangle”, “Strawberry Vision (feat. KC Rabbitt). The song is a sunny, daydream for a lazy afternoon; a blissed-out tune with lyrics that have a poetic feel to them. The other one is “Circus of Dreams”, which is another song that shows Kosmo’s penchant for writing catchy tunes.
Listening to Jonny Kosmo I kept trying to think of who it was that this album reminded me. Although it isn’t what was hiding somewhere in my mind, the only thing I could think of was Stephin Merritt & Christopher Owen’s one-off project, Future Bible Heroes and their simply beautiful, flawless album, Memories of Love from 1998. I still listen to that album and though I had a Magnetic Fields album for a time, until it got wrecked and I haven’t had it replaced (yet), it just didn’t have the same catchiness as Memories of Love. Then again, when I first got the Future Bible Heroes album I had not yet heard of Magnetic Fields (oh, well, so sue me) so I wasn’t in a position to make any comparisons.
Anyway, if you like discovering new music and have an open mind as well as wide-ranging musical tastes, give Jonny Kosmo and Jonny Kosmo a try. -KM.