Cog-The New Normal
Release date: 4-12-05
Band site: http://www.cog.com.au/cog.html
Cog is a three-peice progressive rock band from Bondi, Sydney, Australia. The group is comprised of Flynn Gower,(Guitars, vocals) Luke Cower(Bass guitar, backup vocals) and Lucius Borich(Drums, sampling, backup vocals). The band started in 1998, when Flynn and Lucious started writing some songs. Later on that year, Luke Gower joined them to bring in the bottom end of their sound. They started playing as many gigs as they could possibly handle, and in 2001, Trading Post Booking Agency added Cog to their touring roster. Later on that year, they recorded Just Visiting
EPs, a 2 part record. The also released Open Up
, a single. In 2004, they started writing their most succesful piece to date, The New Normal
. The album was then released on April 12, 2005, and have been touring Australia to promote this piece.
The New Normal
[5:56]- The first track starts off with a quiet guitar intro, with some interesting sampling to start off the song. Then, the song jumps in full blast, Flynn's powerful vocal presence sets the tone for the album. The thing I like about this track being the first track on the album is that it shows you right off the bat what Cog is all about. If I were to reccomend someone a song to listen to if they wanted to get a good dose of what Cog sounds like, Real Life would definitely be the one I would choose. At around the 3:30 mark, Flynn starts into a very emotional solo, and from there, the song crescendos up to it's previous heavy state. The song ends Lucious playing a unique snare bass and hi-hat combination, then to a desonant choir chant.
[6:24]: This track is quite a bit darker than the first. It starts off a bit slower, yet it picks up during the verse with some more interesting samples created by Lucious. Also, the verse is the first time Luke Cower's presense on bass guitar is shown, with some distortion and delay, he displays his talents quite well. Other than that, I wouldn't consider this song to be one of my favorites.
Silence is Violence
[7:41]: In case you haven't noticed by now, Cog's songs are quite a bit longer than your average radio-rock 3 and a half minute songs, which can be a great thing, or in the case of this song, not so great. There are defininitely high points, and some fairly low points in this song. The verse is great featuring a very cool guitar/bass combination, but the chorus section of the song really isn't up to par.
[4:33]: During the intro, Flynn does a nice 2 part harmony part, but I find this song to be rather monotonous, but at the 2:00 mark, the song picks up a bit with some more disorted bass tones. Then, the song ends just as it started, with some more 2 part harmony work by Flynn.
[7:10]: My favorite part of this song is the introduction monologue spoken by Flynn. After that, this is probably the song where Lucious Borich gets to display his drumming talents the most. He uses quite a bit of tribal drum sequences to create a very forboding atmosphere throughout the song.
[3:35]: The shortest song on the album, and also incidentally the albums first single. I can see why it was chosen as the first single, everything about the song is just catchy. The bass line, the drumming, and of course the guitar work combine to create the perfect "rock band trying to get their name out" track. The chorus is the part that stands out for me. The outro displays a little bit of the bands more complex side, with an off-beat time signature. Overall, I'd rank this song as one of the better tracks.
[5:10]: This track makes me think every time I hear it. To this day, I've not decided if the first bassline is actually a bass, or just more sampling provided by Lucious. Either way, it is another interesting element added to the song. Coupled with the 3 layers of vocals throughout some parts of the song make it again, one of my favorite Cog tracks. The thing that I especially like about this song is how you can never predict where it's going next, whether it be a heavy chorus, a soft interlude, or just to the next track. Cog always seems to keep me on my toes.
The River Song
[7:41]: The River Song is typically revered as one of Cog's best songs, but it never really has clicked with me. It's a good track still, but there really isn't much to it. Over a minute and a half of bass, then another monologue. I think it's just too slow of a song for my tastes.
[4:01]: Perhaps my least favorite track from The New Normal
. It's probably the most simple song on the album, and when I'm listening to Cog, I really want more progression. I think the song is very out of place in the album, especially when you consider what is to come.
Doors/Naming the Elephant
[21:03]: I am placing these songs as one track because I have never listened to them individually, and I think to do that would be to do a disservice to Cog, because the songs are in my opinion the two most amazing songs on the album. Secondly, before you listen to these songs, you must place your self in a very quiet and open state of mind. Doors starts off with what sounds to be video game sampling of sorts. Then at the 1:15 mark, what sounds to be like a backwards tracked woodwind insturment of some sorts. After that, a very atmospheric guitar riff, and then a slow melodic vocal entry. The sedated sound created in the first 2 minutes of the song leave you extremely vulnerable to emotional changes, which is shown at several points throughout the song. A little before the 5:00 mark, the tone of the shifts from soft and emotional to dark and forceful. Flynn plays the same atmospheric riff, but this time, he slathers it in distortion. At the 8:30 mark, the song switches back to "chill mode," which then leads us to the Naming the Elephant. This track begins with a three note clean guitar pattern, then at around the 1:00 minute, more elements are added, then the song changes to a very unique feeling that is really indescribable with words. I think these 2 songs show where Cog may be going with their music in years to come. It is definitely the most mature sound they have when compared to other songs on The New Normal
. At the 4:15 mark, the song takes an extreme change. The unique feeling gives way for the almost comically forboding sound created by the the harmony line. This song is one of the most unpredictable song as far as structure. Moods shift so quickly, you hardly even know what to think. After the drop off occurs once again, there is another three-minute crescendo, which ends with a nice peice of guitar work.
All in all, The New Normal
is definitely one of the best debut albums, by one of music's most unknown bands. Hopefully one day they will recieve the world-wide recognition that they fully deserve.