The debut album by Cosmic Sans veers through rock, punk, psych and weird, jazz-inspired jams.
Like many modern garage-psych records, this album has an insular and grimy sound, as though it’s been incubating indoors over a long year without live music, with a channel-changing mindset.
“Mind Crosser” kicks things off in contemporary psych rock thrash mode, with multi-tracked guitar. “Alright” is a ‘60s throwback, with the clinking bottles in the background, sing-along vocals and harmonica, an impressively raspy voice and low fidelity sound. It’d make a great party-closer, which happens to be followed by a synth interlude and “Just Tryin,” which is a woozy list of getting-by regrets.
Six people contributed to the thicket of sounds here: the full band lineup (on the record) is Jake Howell on lead vocals, rhythm guitar and bass; Will Stoskopf on various guitars, harmonica, bass and backup vocals; Seamus Jennings on lead guitar and lead vocals, plus lap steel, synth, some bass and keyboards; Cole Bronson on drums; Kyler Rebich on bass; and Christian Rockeman on drums and percussion and samples. It was produced by Jennings and Howell, and mastered by Matt Olson of Attack and Release Sound.
In classic psych style, sometimes straightforward songs culminate in scrambled lines like the refrain in “Gremlinize.” The tunes are glued together with interludes — synthesizers, TV or movie dialogue sped up to sound trippy, a percussion and monkey-yelp jam, that will either amuse you or test your patience.
Sometimes it happens in the course of a single tune: “Edamame” starts out as blues rock, as filtered through the Black Keys, and then slides into an edited drum solo with sampled symphonic interludes and psych weirdness, then into a guitar jam with some overdubs. It speeds up, slows down and drifts through moods, before they reprise a song called “Saturdays.”
“Cosmic Sans” is out now. You can buy it on artist-friendly BandCamp or stream it on major services.
The group is playing the Zootown Arts Community Center’s Show Room on Friday, Oct. 29. Doors open at 7 p.m., show’s at 7:30. Tickets are 10 in advance at showroom.zootownarts.org.