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The Cookie Jar Complot - Lobster Knife Fight (self-released)

28 November 2023

Just because something doesn’t fit neatly into a genre or conform easily to a specific tag or label doesn’t mean to say that there isn’t something great going on, something focused, unique, and forward-thinking. In fact, I would say that it is away from those neat boxes and easily affixed tags that the really good stuff happens, the stuff that changes the musical landscape slightly, that moves forward into new musical horizons rather than dwells on what has gone before.

And that is where you find the gloriously named Cookie Jar Complot and their equally strangely/eloquently titled album Lobster Knife Fight. If you were to try to get a handle on what they do, it is, I would say, rock but leaning more towards the post-rock attitude of pulling the genre structurally apart and building something more ornate in its place. It is slightly proggy, mathy perhaps, and ebbs and flows between ornateness and sonic ideas, sounds, and styles. It is instrumental. It is also awesome.

It is easy to wander down such a sonic route and become so lost in your craft that the resulting music loses its accessibility and turns more into art to be appreciated than music to be enjoyed. Not so here, and within this proggy-rocky-mathy-experiemental umbrella, they cover a lot of ground. “Cicadas” is funky and buoyant, “Birds Are A Lie” wanders between the ambient and the truly epic, “Pigeon Slayer” is hazy and chiming, and “LLTAOS” borders on the neo-classical. And always, the music is inventive and unsecondguessable. (That’s a word, right?)

It is an album of many shifting musical moods. While it sits broadly in a rock world, the use of dynamic and often unexpected grooves and classical grandeur, intricacy and artfulness, sense of adventure and sheer creativity, something not often found in the world of instrumental rock music, transcends any and every genre, tag, pigeon-hole or label you try to apply to it.

Why can’t more people make albums this defiant, this restless, this spirited? Why can’t more people make albums this damn great?