The Cosmic Dead - EasterFaust (4 stars)

The Cosmic Dead - EasterFaust

The psychedelic quartet's limited edition jam LP is quite brilliant

It’s been a privilege to witness the evolution of Glasgow’s own psychonauts The Cosmic Dead over the last few years. In their protoplasmic stage, the band had a pretty fluid line-up, a core trio augmented by itinerant satellite musicians – and the early gigs were heavy on the onslaught, a relentless barrage of chaos and smoke and noise and propulsion. Since their solidification into a stable quartet (James T McKay on guitar, Omar Aborida on bass, Julian Dicken on drums and Lewis Cook on synths), the Dead have toured relentlessly, gained a pretty respectable international following and, crucially, evolved far beyond their shaggy, brutish, nascent form.

Last year, the band spent a week in a garage studio on the west coast of Scotland with maverick production wizard Luigi Pasquini. The result is EasterFaust: a limited edition 12” comprising two 20-minute jams – a vast, rich offering to the gods of speed and volume.

‘EasterFaust Part One’ starts in a dazed psychedelic crawl, complete with spacefaring whale noises and woozy android vocals, recalling its namesake’s krautrock vibes. After a few minutes’ gentle meandering, we slip into a bright and optimistic groove, borne aloft light by high-register lines from Aborida and by Dicken’s nimble, beautifully accented pulse. It builds, builds and builds again, adding layers and density and velocity, McKay’s swirling guitar and Cook’s warped vocals pushing everything towards manic maelstrom.

The side-B jam, unsurprisingly named ‘EasterFaust Part Two’, is more direct, exploding into a super-impertinent stop-start rock’n’roll riff, before exploring myriad permutations of sublimely heavy synapse abuse. Where ‘Part One’s appeal stemmed from its progression out of a subtler, softer palette, the interest here lies in an engaging balance between repetition and variety. While undeniably relentless, it’s not a matter of hitting a groove and driving it into the ground … rather, it’s a living, breathing sound that’s constantly, seamlessly evolving into new transitional forms for which all four players have equal responsibility. Quite brilliant, and a great testament to how far these voyagers have travelled.

Out now on Sound of Cobra, available via thecosmicdead.bandcamp.com

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