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CD of The Week

Week of 6/15/20

    Mondo Cozmo - New Medicine (Last Gang)

    Philadelphian-turned-Angelino Josh Ostrander has returned with New Medicine, his second full-length album under the moniker Mondo Cozmo.

    The album is an amalgamation of several different genres of music, but most pervasive seems to be the distinct sound of Brit-rock. Throughout New Medicine, we are treated to a delightful mashup of Oasis, Blur, and blues riffs that could lend to The Beatles or The Kinks. Album opener "Black Cadillac" even adds a hint of the Rolling Stones, with a touch of American politics along the way. Ostrander proclaims, "K-A-V-A-N-A-U-G-H / Can you see karma's a bitch? / With your rose-colored glasses and I hope the robe fits" - referring to controversial Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. "Upside Down" follows with more political inspiration, as Ostrander has said was written during Donald Trump's impeachment hearings when he was sick of watching the news.

    The album continues with "Like a Bird," featuring light melodies and muted trumpets while seemingly telling the story of an individual who feels detached from their surroundings. "You sing like a bird too sad to sing. You feel like a ghost I never see," Ostrander sings.

    Returning to the Brit-rock vibe is "Come On," while "Drown in Love" also adds a hint of Beck while still sounding decidedly Mondo Cozmo. "Generator" tells a tale of thankless sacrifice with jabs like, "I cut off my arms and handed you a cigaretteā€¦I cut off my face and gave you everything I have," and yearning for "Generator" to set him free.

    Arguably the most heavy-hitting track on New Medicine is "It Fills the Room," which recounts being drugged and ending up in the emergency room. "Just stay one more minute" the song gently cries as if pleading someone to stay and apologizing for bleeding on their shoes. The most haunting of lines is: "The devil does not reside underground. / The devil is not frightened by sound. / The devil is the kid next to me getting stitches in his mouth while his dad is making promises to a God he's never found."

    "New Medicine" finds a way to be new music with a very comforting and familiar approach. The homage to Ostrander's influences acts as a steady foundation for him to build on and showcase both he and his band's musical talent.

    Hear Mondo Cozmo checking in from home for an acoustic Y-Not Session and in-depth interview On Demand.

    Review by Dan Baker

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