Music Knows No Borders – Dallas Cosmas
It’s a beautiful and very poignant quote to open with, and it introduces the new album from Dallas Cosmas, The Memory Keys, in a truly wonderful way.
Since the artist’s previous release Farewell From The Lighthouse, Melbourne based Dallas Cosmas has signed an international publishing deal which has vastly broadened his musical reach – great news for those of us on the other side of the globe. The album features a collection of songs that really take you on a journey through the artist’s poetic and striking view of the world, accompanied by an experimental and – as we like it – creatively free array of musical substance.
The track The Midnight Road is a superb choice for an introductory single. The hypnotic rhythm is enforced further by the vocal melody and style that Dallas Cosmas presents. It’s a melody that really envelopes you as you listen – the music seems to spin around and around, the idea of somewhere out there repeating towards the final fade out builds on this effect even more so, and with this melodic simplicity comes an undeniable focus on the words and the ideas embedded in the lyrics. It’s a fantastic track that imprints it’s hook in your mind indefinitely.
There’s a definite touch of various styles and genres throughout this record. A Part Of Me is a beautiful highlight, standing tall on it’s own two feet, yet blending in superbly with the overall vibe given off by the collection in full. It’s a peacefully acoustic and musically minimalist sort of song, gentle and reflective in content, the effect of which is once again that you’re fully inclined to listen to those words. The songwriter’s ideas are expressed in a truly original manner, every line has something about it that is both captivating and somewhat comforting. The lyrics come across as new thoughts, new ideas, and there’s something very honest and trustworthy about the singer’s voice; it’s the kind of performance that draws you in, convinces you of it’s truth, and furthermore provokes thought – the best kind of songwriting, in my opinion.
As a fan of the concept of the album in general – the hour or so of focused art seems to represent an individual work of art in a more in depth sort of way – it’s often difficult to choose singular moments that stand out. However, a personal favourite from this new release is definitely House Calls. This song has such a wholesome sort of warmth to it, despite dealing with a very raw and real subject matter. It grabs your attention with it’s simplistic, folk-like storytelling, but then the more you listen, the more the words stand out. The melody is one that again rolls around in your mind long after the song has finished, which of course means that those words linger around in unison, and so, as always, Dallas’ songwriting skills are illuminated by the strength of the music in capturing and presenting these ideas in such a noticeable and memorable way.
Then you get to a song called Why Don’t You, and the more musically experimental side of the artist steps forward once again. Doused in originality, with just the ever-so-slight hint of influence – David Bowie comes to mind once or twice – the playful creative confidence really brings out the true artistry and splendour of this work. Everything from the structure to the performances to the instrumental effects works together to build an immense and rather mesmerising soundscape. There’s an attitude and power to the music, particularly the guitar sounds that line the backdrop to the song.
As you move forwards through the project, one thing is for certain – there is absolutely nothing predictable about this collection. It’s Over Me is as pleasantly surprising as it predecessor, but there’s an overwhelming sense of emotion to this piece that really pulls at your heart strings – which is, cleverly again, very much in keeping with the theme of the song. It washes over you, and quite swiftly, despite it’s mellow presentation; the after effect is not dissimilar to that of a newly discovered abstract painting.
Amongst these scattered segments of space and depth are some brilliantly rhythmic moments of alternative and experimental indie rock. To The Station is a perfect example, it offers a soft rock anthem sound, and although it’s undoubtedly at home in the presence of it’s surrounding songs, it’s definitely one that would seem right at home on alternative radio stations across the world. The same goes for Meet You Once Again, perhaps even more so in this case. This song somehow very peacefully seems to scream classic anthem. Another personal highlight, the kind of song you could easily play on repeat for weeks on end and not get tired of it. Those jazz infused keys and that hopeful sounding melody are a blanket of warmth.
The music is fantastic right the way through, but without a doubt, one of the most striking things about the collection is Dallas Cosmas’ lyricism. There’s emotion and personality in the stories and the lines, but there’s also this fly-on-the-wall sort of feeling to it all. The Promise is a good example. It’s as if these songs are snippets of lives and scenarios that we would otherwise never get the chance to know about. And even having said that, they still somehow feel very relevant and personal to you as an individual, as a listener. I suppose the very essence of being human has been captured somehow, and it makes the album even more enjoyable.
Green Girl is a final favourite, without a doubt – a song which, it turns out, was written for the one and only Joni Mitchell. The minimalist style of the music, the sublime swagger of those flickers of guitar, and Dallas’ vocal performance of that melody and those lyrics is just stunning. A beautiful peace of music, and a great way to lead you into the final track Good Goodbye, which is an ever rhythmic and relevant way to leave you smiling as you finish listening to the collection. There’s a hint of country to this last moment of music, adding even more to that sense of eclectic and creative freedom.
By the artist’s own admission and gratitude,The Memory Keys would not have been possible without the help of some of his dear and talented friends. The project features Paul Richards on drums, Wally Rankin on guitar on The Midnight Road & Why Don’t You (as well as backing vocals), and the superb keyboard playing, as mentioned regarding Meet You Once Again, was by Evan Englezos. Also involved were musicians Simon Segal, Matthew Shadwick, Brother To The Birds & Wayne Rintoul.
It’s been a long time coming, but it was more than worth the wait. Download the album via iTunes. Find and follow Prototype Musique on Twitter. Check out the Prototype Musique Website for more information and music.