Much like the beloved British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, it took me a while to be able to correctly recall the name of Cosmo Sheldrake from the top of my head. Which was mildly frustrating seeing as all I wanted to do was tell everyone who would care to listen (and probably quite a few people who wouldn’t as well) about his new album ‘The Much Much How How And I‘ and just how bloody good it is! So, now that I can finally remember Cosmopolitan Sherlock’s name correctly (Bugger! Just when I thought I had it down!), I feel that it is time to tell the world at large just how damn good it is.
*SPOILER WARNING – It’s really good, just in case I hadn’t given that away yet*
It is very difficult to categorise Sheldrake’s creations by mere generic labelling, with so many elements being borrowed from across the board, so perhaps it would be more apt to give a slightly more creative comparison? Imagine an old Disney movie, akin to something along the lines of the wonderful Fantasia, probably about a wizard in the woods doing magical stuff with all the creatures who live in his tree-packed domain. This fourteen track delight would, for the most part, fit in as the perfect accompanying soundtrack to such a flick, with a truly fantastical sonic palette spread thickly across it, right down to some rather enchanting and somewhat surreal lyrical work. “Tom Thumb, from where did you come? Did you toddle or run? Did you skip, trip, or stumble through?” from second track ‘Wriggle‘ and “Come along, catch a Heffalump, Sit with me on a muddy clump, We’ll sing a song of days gone by” from near mid-album entry ‘Come Along‘ in particular seem to stand out, perhaps in a somewhat ‘on the nose’ fashion, but anything with more subtlety just wouldn’t of worked to quite the same degree. Well, the album itself is anything but subtle, so it could be seen that it’s rather in keeping with itself.
The level of musicianship on show here is also nothing short of stunning, with moments of quieter timbres and more simple melodic patterns in stark juxtaposition with some of the all out deafening and technicality also on show. Arguably, album closer ‘Hocking‘ shows off Sheldrake’s talents at their most blatant, opening with a blend of electronic backing combined with an ever building assortment of instrumentation crescendoing into a cacophony of New Orleans Jazz style insanity which a good friend of mine referred to as “absolutely f***ing brilliant” and another described as “a right bloody racket“. You can make your own mind up on that one, but I’m firmly in the former camp!
It is very rare that before the year has even reached it’s middle, I would have two contenders for my personal album of the year, but unless something particularly incredible rears it’s head over the remainder of 2018 (Ghost and Father John Misty both release albums on June 1st, so it’s not out of the question), then ‘The Much Much How How And I‘ and Daniel Blumberg’s seminal work ‘Minus’ (which you can read a review of right here) are going to have a pretty fierce battle to fight out.
To summarise, I can only instruct you to go forth and take yourself on a magical journey with Cosmo Sheldrake. You have my word that you won’t be disappointed.