Neon Bunny
Kosmos


3.0
good

Review

by JohnnyoftheWell STAFF
March 1st, 2021 | 39 replies


Release Date: 02/27/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Some say Kosm[mmm...]

What’s worse than overthinking chillout jams? Chillout jams that actively require this of anyone keen to latch onto the good bits, it turns out. Thanks for that one, Neon Bunny; you’re polished as all glossy car-commercial hell, and just a tiny bit absolutely too smooth for your own good. Out come the knives (the ones with no edges): as far as Korean synth-pop and/or R&B goes, I feel it’s dangerously easy to talk about ‘smoothness’ as trope for sophistication, lush textures or relaxation value in a way that turns a blind eye to its potential for over-generous airiness and innocuous fluff. I’ve almost certainly been guilty of this in the past, but a lot of the best stuff in that scene does very well walking an often fine line between the two. Award-winning singer-songwriter-producer Neon Bunny has demonstrated this enough times herself, and she’s been in the game for easily long enough that you’d expect her to be a master at watching her step.

Why, then, is her latest album Kosmos ‘smooth’ to a pronounced, floaty, fluffy, real fault? It doesn’t so much tread the line as it straddles it wholesale. It’s rare to find an album at once so inoffensive and as results-may-vary, but that dense cloud of smo**thness reduces those kinds of preconceptions to foolishness. In space, no-one can hear you scream, when you scream [in space]. Boy, does this album have a lot of space. Kosmos, or some say...

At first glance, it’s deceptively easy to split this tracklist into cruisers and snoozers. On the one hand, you’ve got the opener “Call You”, a perfect calling card that anchors an R&B-styled blissout in a slick bassline and velvety refrain, or “아파트 천*”, a flirt between retro-synth and city-pop with enough hooks for all the family; on the other hand, there’s “Let Me Be The One”, an anemic stab at downtime Disney smoulder that takes the album’s focal midway slot and sinks it like a thermos of cold tea in a stagnant duck pond. Its atmosphere and semblance of progression are practically impenetrable to the kind of attention spans that this shade of pop should really be pitched at, and many listeners will sadly have phased out by the time an unexpectedly gorgeous stringscape pops up to steal the show in the coda.

In a similar fashion, much of Kosmos’ depth and nuance is packaged in a way that begs for relegation to the background rather than closer inspection. This is a shame, because the record packs some pretty decent ambient pop in its final stretch, but these moments find themselves smokescreened by their dynamic proximity to its drearier fare. For every smart ripple of colour like the generally lovely “IDK”, you have a languid non-starter along the lines of “Just The Way You Are”; all things considered, it’s hard to form a particularly glowing overall impression of the album when the strengths of the former are just a stone’s throw away from the latter’s pitfalls

To her credit, Neon Bunny does rev up for a couple of flashpoints. “Twilight” is the most outgoing of these, though she loses much in execution. Her production choices are bemusing, overemphasising her vocals and dredging her basslines into the void with merciless tremolo layerings. It’s like hearing and almost dancing to a probably-huge banger from the wrong side of a busy road. You’ll have to catch a live show or put your remix cap on to get the best of this one. Late highlight “Bloom” fares considerably better, spiralling between changes of tone and intensity with a kinetic flair largely absent elsewhere, but it’s too little too late: “그* 가만히 앉아서” promptly expunges all that track’s steam in a sweet, superlative nothing, and it’s all downhill from there. The title-track rounds things off painlessly enough in a vapour trail of full-on ambience, but it’s uncertain whether this counts as a sensitive act of disintegration or a Lethe-like embrace of there being no remaining direction whatsoever.

Goodness knows I’m short of willpower and active recollection of approx. half the album by that point, but, as a perk, it only takes thirty-five minutes to backtrack through all those forgotten details. Was Kosmos a good time? I’ll get back to you on that, but if you stick it on and feel like enjoying yourself on your own initiative, I doubt it’ll offer the slightest resistance.




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user ratings (5)
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Gyromania
March 1st 2021


32275 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

automatic 1

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2021


34928 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is very nearly a good album. nice procrastination for the Nick Cave rev I'm terrified of being almost able to hammer out sometime very very soon

fuck this site and its processing of hangul

gyro you've got 2 minutes until i fasttrack you to the shitty end of the meds thread

Digging: Xiu Xiu - OH NO

parksungjoon
March 1st 2021


29267 Comments


not kosmiche?

automatic 1

MyFriendMetatron
March 1st 2021


72 Comments


Came for the Bloodborne reference. Not something I'd likely dig, but that's all good. Fun review.

Gyromania
March 1st 2021


32275 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

dude that was so shitty of you!

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2021


34928 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oops

nichts komisches on my watch bois / lmao cheers Metatron, glad you enjoyed yourself one way or another

CaliggyJack
March 1st 2021


6057 Comments


D-did you just make a Bloodborne ref?

Lordy...

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 1st 2021


66859 Comments


Last one was good

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 1st 2021


66859 Comments


Oooooohhhhhhhh

LeddSledd
March 1st 2021


4779 Comments


I should 1 this to balance out that average

Digging: Immolation - Close to a World Below

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2021


57768 Comments


Oh Amygdala, have mercy on the poor bastard

Digging: Sex-Dragoon - Mayo

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 1st 2021


66859 Comments


Oooohhhhhh elden ring

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 1st 2021


66859 Comments


Oooohhhhhh elden ringu

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2021


7112 Comments


These are some good words thanks Johnny tho I won't be listening to this sorry Johnny

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2021


34928 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

cannot wait to review elden ring on sput tbh, gonna line up a special tentenko album for the occasion

and lol as far as albums I'll actively tell sput to jam go, this is pretty near the bottom of the pile. a most for the aircon pop gang though

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 2nd 2021


66859 Comments


do you follow the elden ring reddit thread at all?

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2021


34928 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

lol no, but sometimes i get suggested articles about how much conjecture goes down there. what's the scene?

TaiL4ever
March 2nd 2021


298 Comments


yO someone must Make better irrigation for the stagnant Duck Pond', Ducks can have complain too yO, I Love ducks btw, when they swim together, they make me forget of the swan, so fix it, you diG?

nolerthebowler
March 2nd 2021


8517 Comments


i knew johnny wrote this without clicking

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2021


34928 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

plus 2 insight points for nolerboi



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