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CD of The Week

Week of 8/07/17

    Mondo Cozmo - Plastic Soul (Republic)

    After a year of waiting, with the occasional track reveal, L.A.-based/Philly-native Mondo Cozmo strikes a chord with Plastic Soul. Josh Ostrander is no stranger to the music industry, having found some success with previous bands La Guardia and Eastern Conference Champions. After the downfall of ECC, but still yearning to create and perform, Josh donned the alter ego Mondo Cozmo to create an album that fuses indie rock, blues, and soul.

    Plastic Soul opens with its title track, featuring a simple and catchy piano riff that is soon joined by Ostrander's unique vocals asking, "Didn't I see you fighting in the war back in 1942?" The theme of past visions and infatuation through the decades goes on, later asking, "Didn't I see you tearing down the wall back in 1989?" The song mentions an elusive woman and love interest, themes which continue through other tracks on the album.

    In the past year Mondo Cozmo has released several songs, ultimately revealing half the album early. Tracks like "Hold On To Me" and "Higher" highlight the musical variety that influenced Ostrander and got him to this point. "Shine," the first single to gain traction and notoriety, still serves as a chilling and almost euphoric song tying in biblical references by pleading to turn the other cheek and move on. "Let them get high, let them get stoned. Everything will be alright if you let it go," he sings throughout the song, building from a solo acoustic guitar and crescendoing along the way to continue the proclamation.

    The true potential of the previously released tracks are fully unleashed when paired with newer songs like "Thunder." Opening with a lightly muted strummed melody that is joined by another simple catchy lead guitar, the song continues to build until the chorus erupts into "Come on love, give me a sign. 'Cuz I've been waiting in the darkness for your everlasting light. Come on love, tell me a lie. It's been a long f***ing year that I can't wait to leave behind." It sheds a familiar warmth immediately from the first listen while still sounding new, unique, and fresh.

    Rounding out the album is the track "Chemical Dream," which opens with a clip from an interview where Ostrander confidently says," I can tell you how it started. It started out with a look." A single guitar begins to play a delightfully infectious melody as drums build and are joined by vocals. The song is centered around the line "All my life is a chemical dream," delving into both existentialism and profundity.

    What was originally described as "music from a guest bedroom in L.A." has gained momentum culminating in the release of a highly anticipated debut record. On his various social media outlets currently sits a quote attributed to Cozmo (Ostrander's dog), saying this is "the most important debut album of all time." There are several reasons this could be true, the most important being that for Ostrander it could prove that the third time truly is the charm.

    Mondo Cozmo returns home with a September 13th headlining gig at Union Transfer.

    Review by Dan Baker

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