Bernard Cozy fills the room with retro electronic warmth and strong rhythms throughout this surprinsgly colourful yet deeply emotive, contemplative new album.
Featuring an impressively ececltic fusion of genres, The End Of The World leads us through an EDM-ready soundscape for the opening track, before evolving to welcome in punk-pop-esque vocals and a decidedly poignant, melancholic outlook. This use of contrast proves powerful, and the song sounds great, simply put – unexpected yet effective, and wholly immersive. A great way to kick off the project.
Merci follows and already that key versatility stands tall under another new light. The soundscape feels retro electronic still, but the keys progression and the opening vocal rhythm seem to lean towards a mildly oriental vibe, before progressing into electro-pop territories once again, with more of that notably thoughtful, intimate and honest lyricism.
The further we get into this album, the more nostalgic it begins to feel, whilst also consistently offering a fresh soundscape and melody to cling to. Perhaps it’s this meeting of the now emo-rap sounds and the nineties emo-rock tones, along with this multi-layered production style. Perhaps it’s also Bernard’s voice, accessible and genuine, perfectly capable of meandering through these various sections, from the gentle to the passionate. Perhaps it’s all of this, a new-found contemporary creativity. The Plot, The Knife showcases these qualities beautifully, and is an easy highlight from the album.
Chocolate Covered Pineapples follows and breaks the weight with a touch of guitar and a simple rhythm, plenty of space. A reggae hook section completes the process beautifully, furthering that Bernard Cozy sense of artistic freedom, whilst still maintaining effective, addictive songwriting along the way. The whole playlist slowly but surely secures itself as something of an indie classic – great listening for 2020 and beyond.
Thick distortion and personal vulnerability pour through as Tunnel Vision increasingly screams out on behalf of uncertainty and the desire to escape. A heavy moment, welcomed within the mix and still holding true to those creative building blocks that are recognisable as Cozy.
Dead Lights follows on and that distorted bass feels immediately familiar. Then we get a hard-hitting rap verse and further layers of haunting, intense detail. A fast-paced track but not exclusively so – vastly eclectic in structure, and effective as ever in holding attention.
Bringing things to a memorable finish is the thoughtful, poetic and rhythmically engaging Lavender. A touch of reggae, a soulful vocal, a sense of organic musicianship and space – what an anthem, with another superb hook; complete with accompanying horns.
A final absolute highlight, and the perfect end to a genuinely refreshing, unusual yet consistently entertaining and open project. This is the kind of creative freedom and emotional honesty that first helped Twenty One Pilots pave their way – it’s not the style so much that’s similar, it’s the artistic purity, the lack of confinement or industry expectation.
Brilliant – a total pleasure to let play in full. All of these tracks are easily worthy of the longer term playlist.