Cosmo Jarvis – Think Bigger (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
EVER prolific, Cosmo Jarvis has delivered his third full album around the same time as he puts the finishing touches to his first full-length movie, Naughty Room. He doesn’t appear to be distracted.
Rather, Think Bigger is quite possibly his most accomplished collection of songs yet, embracing a number of styles while paying homage to everyone from The Who to The Grateful Dead via The Beatles.
Opening with the former lead single Love This, the album engages from the outset courtesy of that song’s cheeky homage to Tony Soprano (“dying keeps me conscious of the way I waste my breath”), whilst showcasing Jarvis’ eye for the alternative.
Train Downtown follows with a barnstorming tale of a dystopian future akin to the one in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror complete with rousing rock hooks and, belatedly, a string section and a heavy rock-opera outro.
Tell Me Who To Be opens with a nod to ELO before blossoming into a happy-go-lucky track about self-improvement (or rather change for change’s sake), complete with more endearing swings and a genuinely catchy chorus, and Lacie offers a simple, banjo-backed ode to Cosmo’s computer’s external hard drive – because, as he puts it, “I’m unable to express how thankful I am that while I sleep the contents of my brain are being guarded”.
Sunshine, on the other hand, finds Jarvis indulging his roaring folkabilly sensibility with a riotous bluegrass offering, while Good Citizen is a classic slice of Who-inspired rebellious rock in which Jarvis defiantly refuses to pay his taxes.
His cover of The Grateful Dead’s Friend Of The Devil, meanwhile, employs more bluegrass tendencies and has a really satisfying banjo backdrop to emerge as a really interesting alternative to the original.
But no matter what Jarvis is doing on this album, it’s usually achieved successfully and with the ability to put a smile on the face… even a track like Hopeless Bay, which talks of a rainy, hopeless place where suicide is always near. It’s almost delivered with tongue in cheek.
Further highlights come in the form of the breezy Whatever, which adds mandolin into the musical repertoire to pleasing effect, and the poignant elegy for The Girl From My Village, which showcases the sensitive side to the singer. It’s driven by anger and sorrow, yet retains an upbeat sound that perhaps makes the lyrics even more telling.
Put together, Think Bigger is an apt name for an album that continues to showcase the immense creative ambition of this talented artist. Jarvis is on a roll and his music just keeps getting better.
Download picks: Love This, Train Downtown, Tell Me Who To Be, Sunshine, Good Citizen, Friend of the Devil, Whatever