Review Summary: the right place // the right time
There’s always the one. The album that just slides into your life at what is inexplicably the perfect moment for it to catch on. The one that defines your current situation, the one that carries you through the year, and the one you’ll always look back on with fondness regardless of where you find yourself. It might wax and wane with regards to your attention, or there might be multiple ‘ones’ that occupy a singular space in your mind, but there’s always the one. Right now and right here, Cosmic Thrill Seekers is my one.
Frankly, my writing sucks. I don’t think I could, in words, do justice to how I feel listening to this thing. I keep coming back to the same opening question, “what makes an album powerful?” The question sounds so incredibly cliche, it’s laughable. But, I guess I’ll indulge my subconscious or whatever's making me keep coming back to the same line. Is it the instrumentation that makes a piece of music powerful? If so, Cosmic Thrill Seekers does it for me. It’s ambitious, to say the least. It is power pop pushed to its limit, both incredibly grandiose and extremely fluid. Guitar riffs that express a surprisingly wide range of emotions and a playfully technical rhythm section that just drives everything forward constantly at well over the speed limit. Kory’s voice, the aspect of the music that is most probably the main and final reason people find record rather grating to listen to, is liquid sugar to my ears. It is raw and it is throat-shredding. But not once is it painful for me to listen to. If anything, it completes the package. Kory’s vocals are emotional, passionate, and are absolutely nothing if not sincere. The way he writes a vocal melody is god damn genius, sticking at least one memorable one-liner in every song on here. This band is the example of perfect synergy. Cosmic Thrill Seekers is an absolute tour de force for the genre and simply an engaging and exciting listen through and through.
So, the music is good, maybe even great who knows. Let’s say, for a moment, that it’s the content that makes an album powerful to listen to. If so, then once again, unsurprisingly, Cosmic Thrill Seekers does it for me. The concept album is basically as follows: a dude smokes some weed, gets mind-meltingly high, and goes on a ‘Wizard of Oz’-Esque journey to battle his anxieties and depressive thoughts head-on. You just rolled your eyes right now. Look, it sounds silly, but Cosmic Thrill Seekers is a triumphant anthem for mental health. It goes through the highs and the lows of living your life feeling like you don’t belong anywhere. It goes toe-to-toe against the thoughts in your head that make you think about how no one around you truly cares whether or not you’re around, the thoughts that make you realize that human connection in your life has become a rarity if not a relic of an older and happier time. The band runs through the full gamut of emotions, effectively making the album one big mood swing. It’s a journey and at the end of the tunnel, the last song, it tells you that everything will be ok and that you will overcome. Emotionally, Cosmic Thrill Seekers does it for me.
This year has been weird. Things have been changing and it feels like they’ve been changing too fast for me to keep up with it all. Everyone I knew I don’t think I know anymore. I’ll be moving in a few months for the third time in recent memory. I’m not quite sure what I want to do with my life or where I’m heading in the next five years. Lately, I’ve been waking up tired and going to sleep unhappy. I’ve been living an unhealthy lifestyle and I keep getting in my own way. But when I listen to this album, everything gets clearer. I believe in Kory’s scream at the end of the record, “You're never really alone”. I listen to this album and I feel, maybe there is an upside waiting for me. All I have to do is keep moving forward and try to keep moving upward. I’m not sure how I’ll feel about this record when I’m 30 or if my life will change drastically to the point that I can no longer relate to it. But, for right now Cosmic Thrill Seekers is, and will continue to be, my one.