Hello Cosmos – Dream Harder
Dream Harder is the debut album from Manchester-based punk/psych/dance creative collective Hello Cosmos. Core members include lead vocalist Ben Robinson (the founder of the Bluedot and Kendal Calling festivals) and Angela Chan (of Lanterns on the Lake and Placebo) . The record also includes over 20 guest musicians, ranging from Yard Act to Tallsaint, Galaxians and Mi Mye among others.
The record is a rock rave about escapism that examines mankind’s evolving relationship with technology; its aesthetic is a state-of-the-nation diatribe mixed with a kind of hard-won optimism. This is a fine group of post-punk present-day agitators making music that is disillusioned, disbelieving, optimistic and loving, all at once. Think Idles and the like with a sound that brings to mind The Fall and the vocals of Mark E Smith, as well as more recent artists such as Working Men’s Club.
Robinson’s vocal delivery emphasises his lyrics and accent, with a poetic spoken-word pronunciation that lets the message ring clearly. Opening track Fuse implores the listener “Let’s not fall to the feeble minded, let’s stay enlightened.”
The album builds to the highlights in the middle. The propulsive Run for President is a sprawling, industrial piece of psych rock, heavy with a defiant kind of almost-joy, like a rave that has lasted for days with the ravers no longer sure if they’re having a good time or are just afraid to face the outside world again. The track has some intriguing lyrics – “fresh like the Aztecs, frozen like the earth’s core” – and bows out riding on a full minute of raging fuzz. The follow-up, Love Is the Island upon Which We Stand, is a mix of loving psych and voices distorted by a future that is now here. Chan’s spooky vocals lace and weave through the track, which is a cathedral of synth, entreating the likeminded to batten down the hatches against a surrounding storm of crazy.
The record is both retro and modern, and the musicianship and production (by the band and Jamie Lockheart) are excellent. The message has been much conveyed recently, but this is well done.
Dream Harder is released on 22nd January 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Hello Cosmos’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Run for President here: