Yellow Ostrich - Cosmos

by Kleeberg Rating:8 Release Date:2014-02-25

Wisconsin native Alex Schaff has come a long way in just a few years. From recording in his bedroom with a four-track recorder to signing with Barsuk in 2011 while on tour, his band Yellow Ostrich (which started out primarily as a solo effort) has evolved in both sound and personel. Jared Van Fleet and Zach Rose have joined the band for Yellow Ostrich's third effort, Cosmos.

Modeled around the themes presented by Carl Sagan's book of the same name, which makes vast ruminations about how small our part in this universe really is, Yellow Ostrich's Cosmos becomes a bit confusing in how personal and intimate certain parts feel. While the book is primarily about the mysteries of space, this album is about the personal unknown. "You're my mystery/ You're my great unknown/ You're my foggy night/ You're my open door", Schaff croons over fuzzy guitar riffs on 'Any Wonder'. While the themes get heavy here, the music is definitely down to Earth.

My favorite track is 'My Moons'. "My moons bring me silence/ and I am glad for it, I am glad for it/ Your smile brings me sadness/ but I do long for it, I do long for it", he proclaims, over a droning beat reminiscent of something The Tender Buttons might have come up with in their later years.

This is an ambitious album. It's more cohesive than Strange Land, and more polished than The Mistress. It's filled with equal-parts melodic indie-rock and understated space. It opens with 'Terrors', and crests and swells throughout it's 10 tracks, finally bringing us back to Earth with the closer, 'Don't Be Afraid', which quietly rolls to a close, and spits us back into the real world.

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