Yellow Ostrich – Cosmos
It’s often difficult to follow a band’s trajectory as they grow and develop their sound. This is especially the case when a band that you’ve learned to call “yours” releases an album that you really don’t like. This was the case upon my listening to Yellow Ostrich’s new record, Cosmos. To state it quickly, this album contains almost no trace of the Yellow Ostrich that I fell in love with on 2010’s The Mistress. Four years later, they’ve lost the interesting use of loop machines, and that major-chord-pop feel that made their melodies so contagious. The loss of simplicity on Cosmos, for me, is what made the record disappointing.
That’s not to say that Yellow Ostrich’s third full-length album has no shining moments. Fans of Purity Ring might even enjoy Yellow Ostrich’s new record as Shrines’ younger and undeveloped cousin. Cosmos uses the same snaps and drum claps that Purity Ring has become known for, but the songs of Yellow Ostrich doesn’t keep a tight center as do their counterpart. Instead of using the atmosphere of the songs to further the emotional feel, Cosmos ended up jerking emotions back and forth until the songs released my interest. The best example of this is the song “You Are the Stars,” which has all the making of a fun, dance along pop tune, until it erupts into a minor riff that destroys the mood of the song to no use. I had similarly high hopes for the song “In The Dark,” that used the loose, atmospheric guitar feedback that is reminiscent of Phosphorescent, but without a gratifying chorus. And indeed, catchy choruses are what Yellow Ostrich should be remembered for, as their other albums show.
Without a doubt, the song “Shades” is one you should stay away from. The opening guitar riff is repeated throughout the song and gets stuck in your head, but not in a good way. It merely serves to drown out the vocals, which might have something interesting to say if you can listen to it more than once. Furthermore, songs like “Neon Fists” and “How Do You Do It” possess fine verse melodies, but then a chorus comes to reveal the band’s ill-conceived attempts at getting their crowds to sing along.
Overall, Yellow Ostrich is a band worth dipping your toes into, but only diehard fans of front man Alex Schaaf’s vocals would listen to this newest album more than once.