Cosmo Pyke: A Piper for Janet

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“Keeping me at bay with her kiss was a gentle way of breaking my fall."

“I'd have to cry my way out, I'd have to climb my way out, I'd take my way or the highway out”

'A Piper For Janet' is the second EP of Cosmo Pyke’s, the prior having dropped in 2017. While his first, 'Just Cosmo', feels limited by an indie rock appeal, the following takes influence from a wider variety of genres. Pyke’s ability to bend, weave, parse through and manipulate genres in this dynamic yet brief, 4-song collection is truly an auditory gift. 

 

The title track on the album uses a flurry of instruments to expose heartbreak, loneliness and rejection. Pyke's broken voice sometimes strains for understanding and at points dips into a realm of self-inflicted sadness and embraces it with open arms. As the opening song, it gives the audience a better picture of Pyke’s musical growth since we last heard from him. The instrumentation is raw and at times feels refreshingly underproduced. A Piper For Janet is a complicated song, both lyrically and melodically, that feels reminiscent of the modern jazz powerhouse BADBADNOTGOOD. It dredges up the sensation of a classic meet-cute a la Princess Bride. 

 

Fillet Mignon is the reconstructed love song, suspended in syncopated snares and explores a relationship with a younger womxn. The song teeters on the edge of reality and fantasy. Is he reminiscing about a past relationship? (“But she’s a Taurus, almost, Like she's just like me”) or was it a missed opportunity? (“She's two thousand, I’m a nineties baby, I meant to call her.”)

 

The tension being carried from each passing song is only amplified in the penultimate song, Railroad Tracks. The song is a reflection of the title, it describes an infatuation that goes off the rails before you even realize you’re aboard. It’s Nashville, rock influence is contrasted by Pyke’s delicately strung together sensibilities. Using (what we assume is) the entire orchestra and band, Pyke takes us on a melodic and meticulous journey.

 

Seasick is the ripped-from-the-pages-of-my-diary poetry backed by a contemporary psychedelic-jazz melody. While Pyke liberally bounces his wah-wah pedal, tricking the audience into thinking the song is casual and fun, the lyrics tell the opposing side of the story. The dichotomy between the words and the sounds in Seasick reveal a tension between living in a utopia but being confronted with real-world problems. Pyke is calling for someone to pull him out of limbo. As the last song on the EP, we're seeing the curtain into Pyke's dreamy world close once more, and we can't help but be a little sad that reality isn't all delectably savory, but instead, it's begrudgingly bitter. 

Cosmo Pyke’s ability to self-start and evolve as an artist is what makes him a cultural resetter. (this is divergent to what he's done before, not in a drastic way, but in a way that feels comfortably different from what he's done before and I'm alone for the ride.) A Piper For Janet was Pyke’s formal introduction to production and if this is a demonstration of his ability to piece together this dynamic and curious orchestration, then I’m excited for what’s next.

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