Rocking out is not an easy task in a small country and folk infused city like Lethbridge. From sold out New Year’s Eve shows to festivals, Cosmic Charley have proven time and again that they know how to get a party started. Dancing is inevitable. Costumes, lights, and guest musicians willing to get crazy are the norm.
According to the band themselves, their self-titled album EP, Cosmic Charley, follows the journey from failed relationship, the inevitable follow up rage, to constant failure straight on the path to hell. Where falling in love with the wrong girl will bring sorrow and loneliness. But in the end there is a hope. In the end, there is a drive to keep rocking and not give up.
Cosmic Charley consists of Thomas Bird – bass, Nathan Kunkel – vox/guitars and Tony Arsenault – drums. And though I know it would have been cool, if you haven’t guessed it yet, there is no Charley in the band. But that’s really all they’re lacking!
Cosmic Charley is a throwback to the sound of the golden years of psychedelic rock, with a dose of alternative and indie influences thrown into the mix to keep things modern, fresh and hip. The seven songs that make up the EP are so insanely good, so packed with pleasurable hooks and grooves, so smart, so delicious, so intricately designed and performed, that it will knock your socks off with envy. The 60s and 70s may be long gone but Cosmic Charley are exuding kaleidoscope gems like the best of them.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of living through the years of the Doors, the Byrds, Jefferson Airplane and the like, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
This isn’t an EP that blatantly reveals itself on the first or second listen. Only with multiple listens does it become clear that each song is comprised of a multitude of perfect choices: the prefect riff or beat, the perfect lyric, or the perfectly-chosen little guitar growl. “Cosmic Charley” is the sort of crafty, buoyant, deeply satisfying record you hope for every year but rarely find. It is a great rock and roll record.
From the first track, “Asexual”, you’ll discover absolute tonal bliss with mind-altering rhythms to boot. Cosmic Charley has perfectly captured that freak beat aural euphoria of the 60s and 70s without sounding the least bit derivative or precious; brilliant, dense layers of psychedelia which only a few similar sounding contemporaries like Toy, Tame Impala and The Black Angels have mastered in varied doses.
In the hands of lesser talents, a commitment to that classic psychedelic sound all too often ends up becoming a mere genre exercise, or rather, form without substance. But Thomas Bird – bass, Nathan Kunkel – vox/guitars and Tony Arsenault on drums, are strong enough songwriters in their own right to keep their arrangements from descending into blatant pastiche. While individual moments may recall certain classic songs and bands, it’s rarely easy to pin down a single source as this band is headed in a future direction. In fact, Cosmic Charley fall into that rare genre, which reviewers like to call ‘retro-futurists’.
From standouts like “No One Around”, “Right Here Right Now” to “Don’t Know What I’m Doin’” and “Scream Like A Bear”, there isn’t a wasted note on this must have album.
Cosmic Charley will take you on a voyage in time to the mystically sublime. Riffs to sooth you, voices to lead you, words to carry you. They are modern, yet filled with echoes from the past. This EP should go into heavy rotation in your home musical library. It really is a treasure!