So, we’ve come to this… An album so extra-terrestrial in its sound, so intricate in its construction and intrinsically expansive in its concept, that I’m lost for words for how best to start the review for the fantastic second album by Deep Hum called ‘The Boys Cosmic’. The band describe themselves as a Psych band based in Wales, featuring its members: Gareth Davies (Vocals, Sitar), Luke John (Guitar), and Lloyd Markham (Synths, Drum Machines, Effects). When I first heard this album in its entirety, I was walking around a disused school sports field near my home. I let the entire album sink in as a whole while circling the vicinity along with a duo of faithful canine companions by my side. Let’s break it down track by track, shall we?
Thoughts of Cats
The album opens with a barrage of synth, electronic squeals and an entirely experimental flair. At about 8-9 minutes long, this is not an introduction to be scoffed at! Sounding like the swinging sixties having a go at modern heavy metal with a busted Moog synthesizer, this song packs a wallop from the get go. Even though we are met with quite a consciousness-expanding drawl of lead vocals, it melds together well with a much softer psychedelic breakdown that is up against a roaring auricular attack of noise. Just to help conclude this beautifully tumultuous journey I assume! I’m not sure what sort of cats Deep Hum were thinking about when writing the track, but they must have been some pretty groovy ones. Y’dig?
Starting off with a Pop infused bass line, quite reminiscent of a band like The Smiths, the song is dominated by a serene flow of sitar induced easiness. Deep Hum are definitely a band who fall in the ‘experimental’ category, but to me this is their main strength in helping to create such an appealing original body of work that they themselves can be the proud producers of. Being one of the shorter tracks from the album, this particular song gives off a Bjork-esque vibe and rhythm to me which is really pleasant to sway along to in a complacent haze.
The title of the album ‘The Boys Cosmic’ comfortably matches up to the neon space-age aura that guides along this album so far. The music is quite otherworldly, especially with the drone of the lead vocals and inventive approach to the utilisation of its instrumentation. To me, it’s like Alien Jazz! The Mac DeMarco funky inspired guitar lines and wide/spacious melting synths really pushes your mood towards this undeniably transcendental little world that they have created sonically.
A bit more 80s Pop meets Peter Gabriel, the introduction to this song has some fantastic Burundi style drum beats and slick guitar playing, which alongside the confident plucks of the sitar, sound absolutely mesmerising. Some of these songs sound like they could be sound-tracking award winning short films, rather than blowing the mind of this casual reviewer!
My favourite track of the album so far, mainly down to the fact that it sounds like a demented soviet animated SpongeBob approach to recreating the music that Banksy had playing at his ‘Dismaland’ installation back in 2015. It’s a smooth-sounding relaxed Hawaiian infused instrumental which is really quite sublime. Meeting nicely at the halfway point of the album’s overall artistic tone and firmness to help bring this mysteriously engaging vision to life.
Autechre-like synth sounds layered with a jazzy inspired drum beat and an acoustic drizzle gives us the first single from the album, a deep dive into their own polychromatic imaginary landscape. Another psych dominated track chockful of sweeping prismatic imagery fighting against a peculiar Prog-Rock inspired disorientated murmur.
Duh Boiiiz Inebriated
As the name suggests, you may need to aim your perception towards a state of squiffy intent to make sense of these tribal ‘Crash Bandicoot’ sounding percussive loops. Featuring a smooth vocoder led vocal and dashes of quirky little electronic notes, this is semi-instrumental track that is semi-instrumental into giving off a general feel of what the band are exactly about. It’s another lengthy jaunt of easy listening musical insanity that moves along at quite a sanguine pace.
A bit more playful but equally as offbeat, Astronauts has a nursey rhyme kind of lead vocal line, weaving in and out of exuberant synth lines and squealing lead guitar licks. This song has a fantastic spoken word section, in the style of a mock interview between the imperial sounding London TV presenter and a thick Welsh-accented conspiracy theorist rant by response (recognise the voice anyone?). This track really helps to lift the conceptual ideas of the album into new territory, but still remaining a consistent collection of strange but approachable tunes compiled together here. Love it!
The album ends with a sparkling synth intro, more extended vocal utterances and off-beat guitar jams, dipping in and out of consciousness to the listener in a quite a comfortable manner. A nice calm way to end the album, bringing you down gently from the heights of this hovering selection of delightful ear worms and far-reaching metaphysical jams.
On the whole, you can obviously tell that I am quite the fan of this album! I honestly believe that you MUST listen to it in its entirety to really take on board the full effect of the invigorating musicianship and unusual approach to song writing. It’s almost like Syd Barret had a go at trying to write a poppier version of a ‘Boards Of Canada’ album, while Sgt. Pepper era Beatles sat in the background giving their thumbs up of approval. It surely sits in the category of ‘Experimental Psychedelia’ but the album does contain a lot of catchy hooks and familiar pop declarations throughout which makes it quite accessible as well as being a total mind-fuck at the same time! I’m not sure if the band are recreational users of any unmentionable medicinal substances, but please take my totally sober word for it and just let the music speak for itself. Switch off, relax and float downstream…
“The Boys Cosmic” is out and ready to bend your brain right now, so what are you waiting for? Check out the album on the link below and if you like it, why not give the band a bit of your dosh for it?
Mitchell Tennant – 05/05/2021