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Cos is the recording name of New York multi-instrumentalist Mark W. Costoso, and his newest album Grace, in all of its sprawling complexity, is entirely self-produced and self-played. It’s a gigantic throwback to classic progressive rock, but think less the virtuosic noodling of Emerson, Lake & Palmer or Yes, and more the pop-injected fun and oddity of Genesis and Todd Rundgren’s Utopia. It’s a massive album that deserves credit just for the sheer ambition of it all and Cos’ immaculate execution as multiple songs clear the seven minute mark, but thankfully he also delivers quality songs with larger-than-life pop hooks that do not disappoint.
The album opener and, at nine minutes, the longest track “The Greatest Gift” begins with a more stripped back folk ballad, before gradually expanding into a joyously bombastic synth rock explosion. The stadium-sized synths continue with the immediately catchy “Gina,” a song which owes a lot to Rundgren, but Cos explores many different alleyways and byways of the genre from the heavy metal tinged “Resurrection Part 1” to the jazzy “Salt Hay.” Whereas other artists would struggle under the huge amount of material here, Cos manages to magically tie it all together into one coherent package, and Grace is such an exciting album that reminds the audience of the fun playfulness to be had with the genre.
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