Review Summary: mind the gapSure As Hell Not Jesus
is probably the best alt-rock song ever written, I think, because everything falls into place so perfectly. The way it juxtaposes those lurid themes with a hook that pays no attention to them, the way the verses skip along daintily until they witness something they shouldn’t have – the thing is immutably charismatic, and so it's a perfect introduction to Cosmo’s spirit. Is the World Strange…
, in all its humour and all its sincerity, should have never become a footnote in the annals of contemporary brit-rock; but here I am, deservedly guilt-ridden, only now recollecting the songs that sat next to me on the bus for nearly every day of 2012.
I promise I won’t take much of your time from here, and I definitely won’t get too mawkish; for as strong as my relationship with this record is – it never helped me through a depression. It never even helped me through a bad day. What it did do, however, was alleviate the monotony – the utter sameness of compulsory routine – with allegories and metaphors so deeply human in their clumsiness that the only logical response is the flashing of teeth.
Folk-funk (um…?) number Dave’s House
can back me up here: so patently clear is the song's extended metaphor that it feels as though Cosmo is trying to hide his intentions in front of the curtains, not behind them,
But this record lives by its earnestness. In The Talking Song
, Cosmo rattles off a series of capricious anecdotes from the perennial outsider’s perspective. In doing so, he creates a vivid mosaic of possible outcomes, of love and connectivity; of anxieties and the sorrow in staying behind the yellow line. These are sentiments we’ve heard and they’re sentiments we’ll hear again a thousand times over -- but contained within this bluesy, resigned battle-cry of a song, they are the real pleas of a rock musician more concerned with changing the news than just sitting back and watching it.
Is The World Strange…
ends on Betty
– a microcosm of the record as a whole that twists itself around a single refrain just so it can act pissed off and coy at the same time. It’s songs like these that exist resolutely in the same form years after they’ve been written, and it’s songs like these that crystallize into such powerful nostalgia over that same time period. And so I have a question: How did a man who once had a viral hit publicly endorsed by Stephen Fry fade quietly into obsolescence?
Answer: The world’s strange, Cosmo; but you're stranger.