Cosmic Crooner (label)
17 March 2023 (released)
17 March 2023
The period between Elvis’s neutering army conscription in 1958, Buddy Holly’s untimely death in 1959 and the emergence and globe-bestriding empire of The Beatles in 1963 is often unfavourably looked at as one of swooning-crooning-mooning-gurning impresario stage-managed waxworks parroting weak-willed watery-warbling, easy-listening sounds that upon the listener act like Aldous Huxley’s soma in his premonitory tale ‘Brave New World’. However, the truth is much more interesting than that. Truth usually is.
From Ol’ Blue Eyes’ silky sermons to Billy Fury’s playful cool and Adam Faith’s rough-hewn edges up to Bryan Ferry’s sci-fi glamour to Morrissey’s obsessively-detailed bricolage-homage right up to nu-modernist interpreters such as Arctic Monkey and Last Shadow Puppet Alex Turner, New Zealand’s Marlon Williams and Orville Peck’s alt-country & left-turn, this particular form of showmanship and bepop-doo-wop is a perennial site of showbiz pizzazz crossed with cinematic and theatrical majesty. Even John Lennon’s final album ‘Double Fantasy’ harked back to this misunderstood chapter in popular cultural history.
Into this rich tradition steps Amsterdam’s Cosmic Crooner who sometimes goes by the more prosaic title of Joep Meyer. Inhabiting the attire of the lounge lizard, exhibiting the dress of the debonair and the dashing, with more than splash of panache CC now delivers his debut disc, the self-reflexive, self-consciously preening ‘The perks of being a hypocrite’.
CC self-confesses that ‘he’ is an “emotional observative hedonistic joker”, the character of the ‘character’ a meta-fictional interpreter of home-truths and panoramic palimpsests taking critical aim at what he perceives as a moribund popscape and less than fecund cultural-space. Fluctuating between exquisitely poking and prodding at the bland and evoking and provoking the stand of the grand.
Opener ‘Deep down in jazz’ oozes 60s swing-Brit Euro-flash and sees CC outline his origin-myth and mainline his manifesto in the manner of a less uptight Father John Misty. The laidback and grooving ‘Spoiler Alert’ acts as a panacea to the present day’s info-glut, yet calls out the ignorance of too many when the answers are close to hand. More often than not ‘too’ close.
The beseeching ‘Bolero’ is a dramatic last-gasp, ecstatic clasped-grasp at getting the ‘one’, no more pussy-footing round the outskirts, CC defiantly declares “I’m not about to impress ‘anybody’ else”, the motions of emotion are flowing, the unspoken out in the open. The twanging guitar and atmospheric coda is a masterclass in mood-setting and go-getting.
Job now done CC embodies the coup and pep in his step by telling all and sundry from the rooftops about his ‘Girlfriend’, a 10CC-like ode to his newly betrothed.
Cosmic Crooner’s excellent debut is whip-smart satire in razor-sharp attire, lavishly orchestrated echoes combined with ravishing glibrettos.