Irish electronic music is currently in an especially fertile position with acts from Le Galaxie , MMOTHS & Last Days Of 1984 leading the way. There have been hints over the past couple of years that I am The Cosmos could also be ready to make the breakthrough where the occasional peek has been given to what they had been brewing. The Dublin based duo of Ross Turner and Cian Murphy have been building to this point steadily over the past few years. The question hanging over them was if they could replicate that initial promise into something more substantial. I Am The Cosmos’s patience has paid off with a multi-dimensional album which pays respects to the electronic music of decades gone by, without being nostalgic.
There is a huge amalgamation of music styles covering British synth, German electronica and even new romantics pop. At times the album sounds wholly familiar, like it’s been around for years. It’s this timeless quality that shines through from the beginning on Lost Rhythm. The squally, blustery fuzz intro to Lost Rhythm eventually snakes into precisely constructed beats. Wide Awake is a more tightly condensed song and brings in a funk infused baseline.
The vocal of Look Me In The Eye begins with a hint of Joy Division about it before the song morphs into an ‘80s synth monster. Intensity doesn’t mean having to play or sing with vigour, it can slowly be built introducing layers which builds to a crescendo. This is certainly the case for Look Me In The Eye as the swirling synth waves pile upon each other for a joyous apex. Monochrome and Yves Klein Blue both have a melancholy feel, yet at the same time not in any way downbeat. Each of the tracks has its own distinctive features with Yves Klein Blue distinguishing itself with an oriental sounding loop.
Take What You Want is the most danceable track on the album and reminds and compares very favourably with Le Galaxie’s Love System. It introduces various subtle flourishes to keep the song interesting and evolving and is an undoubted a highlight from the album. Following up is Esque which has a stunning ethereal vocal from Cloud Castle Lake frontman Daniel McAuley. As it peaks and soars it shows new directions hitherto not previously displayed by I Am The Cosmos. Leaving /The Shift finishes the album in similar fashion to how Lost Rhythm started it. Given all that has preceded it, Turner and Murphy encapsulate the essence of each previous song and distil it into this sprawling album closer.
There honestly isn’t much to find fault with here but one gripe is despite the consistently strong nature of the songs, there is a lack of an obvious single to pick from the album. But this is a minor complaint. The album may be called ‘Monochrome’, but the result is anything but. This is an album which is vibrant, rich and brimming with invention and atmosphere.