Quirk-powered electric eccentricness
Cosmo Sheldrake is a multi-instrumentalist who looks like he might’ve time-travelled here from entertaining crowds queuing in Theatreland in the 1950s with his array of one-man band instruments. Don’t let that put you off. Sample lyric: “Put some pickles on, and play the Mellotron” (from ‘Wriggle’). Don’t let that put you off either… His voice has shades of Syd Barrett, and the extraordinary production – full of atmospheric space, noises, moist bubbling and drunken, swaying arrangements make for an entertaining listen.
Why Cosmo Sheldrake?
This is kind of thing that got snapped by Deram Records back in the late-60s when they were looking for something psychedelic and contemporary, but insisted on proper musicality and threw the artist into a studio with a producer, an arranger and a handful of orchestral musicians. Think the first David Bowie album. There’s a similar eccentric Englishness on display here, though Sheldrake is from Hampstead and not Bromley, and his songs are more ornate and dreamy than Bowie’s early tales of post-war suburban life.
Tell Us More…
By the time we get to ‘Solar Waltz’, it’s clear that Cosmo shares some of the same psychic and sonic space as Momus, with less emphasis on darker edges of human sexuality, but certainly there’s a sympatico approach to song making. They’re both pulling on a European tradition, echoing of Kurt Weill, as in ‘Spring Bottom’. ‘Egg And Soldiers’ a song “about hubris and the potential pitfalls of short-sightedness” is a stand-out, weird and wonderful with lyrical tics that are hard to forget.
‘The Much Much How How And I’ is out on Play It Again Sam