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The Cosmic Array - Goldilocks (SWND)

31 January 2020

The neo-psychadelic fusion of Welsh act The Cosmic Array thankfully returns this year to make further advancements in both sound and experimentation. Their unique style of blending genres creates depth, and offers a fresh take which steers clear of monotony. Coming this April, Goldilocks follows spectacularly their last outing, 2016’s highly acclaimed Islands. At the heart of this, The Cosmic Array are an ideas band. Not content with sticking within the perimeters of straightforward rock music, and lifting off into a sci-fi world while retaining steadfast in the modern issues of society. This is an intellectual artistic statement, whilst usually a term that reflects a certain seriousness in sound, Goldilocks manages to sparkle. The narrative may, perhaps be heavy, creating a construction that requires deep thinking, that factor does not overpower the overall enjoyment. 

From the outset of Goldilocks , the underwater drones of “Animals” screeches in ambience. With a jazz based tone, the song opens up to reveal flourishes of acoustic guitars, and some beautiful electric patterns of sound. This instrumental paves the way for “Empirical Delight”. A cosmic americana that flows with a big band energy. The sublime vocals are passionately placed, and highly digestible. “Is This Really All There Is” is a work of sizzling slide guitar (Rhodri Viney) meets vibrant, urgent violins (Mark Elton), similar in scope to the previous track. 

There is a feel of the tracks separating from each other and not following the same strand as shown in the spacey “Forget the Messenger”. What can be best described as the Stereophonics blasting into orbit while taking a chance on fattening their sound. The Californian sun-soaked “Pleasantville”, gives a bit more ground to second vocalist Sarah Passmore. In some ways the hope and light in the darkness that vocalist Paul Battenbough exudes at times. 

Though surprises come as the album twists and turns. “Dreamers” contains a sound unlike anything heard previous on Goldilocks. It projects a more eighties feel, with a staggering production, that said the production of this work overall is flawless, and not overpowering but subtle with all the dynamics firmly in place. “Blah Blah Blah” (included below) begins with that pedal steel creating an effect like that of a whale singing. Over the sound of a foot tapping acoustic rhythm, vocalist Battenbough portrays the significant failings of mankind, how as the concept suggests that the survival of the human race lies elsewhere and far removed from planet earth, in The Goldilocks Zone  

A change in pace refreshingly interrupts proceedings with the straightforward rocker “Sing Me Your Love Song”. Still retaining an edge of creativity and diversity. “There In A Heartbeat” is perhaps my favourite of the set. A pure seventies swagger with some funky Wah-Wah guitar, creating, what can only be described as a Warren Zevonesque feel circa 1978. The upbeat “Creatures” is a beautiful, melodic piece of work, with the gentle vocals of Passmore again portraying a subtle, social commentary – “..we are creatures of the present day”. Followed by the melancholic “Ready for Me” and the post-punk guitar crank of “We Just Want To Let You Know”. 

The final breath of Goldilocks, the transcendent and swinging “Always” closes off what is a sublime piece of work. Ultimately there is a sense of fulfilment from the album as a whole. The tracks however do manage to work on their own merit. Not caught up in forming a larger picture tied to a narration. And the use of dual vocalists throughout gives it that light and shade feel. I do recommend checking out not just the album, but the band themselves. The two tracks available for download via Bandcamp (Blah, Blah, Blah & Pleasantville) will stir the right amount of intrigue, and keep listeners waiting patiently for the full release on April 17. 

2.Empirical Delight
3.Is This Really All There Is
4.Forget the Messenger
7.Blah Blah Blah    
8.Sing Me Your Love Song
9.There In A Heartbeat
11.Ready for Me
12.We Just Want To Let You Know

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