KOSMONAUTS is a young indie band from Manchester, UK, a city rich in music history and home of legendary rock bands Oasis, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, New Order, and Everything Everything, as well as a couple of great indie bands I’ve featured on this blog – Partisan and Puppet Theory. As far as I’m concerned, KOSMONAUTS are poised to become an equally great band, based on the quality of their debut self-titled EP that they released in April. Their infectiously upbeat and dynamic guitar-driven style of alternative rock hooked me at first listen, with terrific melodies, intricate riffs and compelling lyrics. And what makes them even more appealing is the level of maturity in their music and lyrics given their young ages (all are in their early 20s).
After a few early fits and starts, the band as it now exists was formed at the beginning of this year. As bassist Callum Hollingsworth explained to me: “We formed properly in 2016 but went through some changes at the start of 2017 where we got a new guitarist and this totally changed the band. As a group we now class this as ‘the start of the band’.” In addition to Hollingsworth, the band includes Rob Snarr (Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar), Kieran Wilkinson (Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals) and Dean Chadwick (Drums). About the band name, Hollingsworth stated it came from a bar in Manchester called Kosmonauts.
Our introduction to Kosmonauts begins with a brief but lovely instrumental track titled “Untitled.” Gentle guitars and airy synths create a delicate, intriguing soundscape that immediately draws you in, wondering what kind of music this band is going to deliver. That question is abruptly answered with the arrival of the hard-driving “Night Of Our Lives,” with rapid-fire, layered guitars, hammering drums and buzzing bass lines that never let up as the track segues into the lively “When We Were Young,” which the band released as a single. Though only two and a half minutes long, this firecracker is packed with so much energy you’re practically left breathless. The frantic riffs are awesome and I love Snarr’s charming vocals as he sings about making the most of your youth, living life to the fullest while still young.
Without skipping a beat, “Store Bought Town” rains down with a volley of jangly guitars, pounding drums and crashing cymbals, all grounded by Hollingsworth’s powerful bass. Snarr sings of struggling to escape a relationship in a town that keeps drawing him back: “I say I’m leaving, cause I’ll do better on my own. And we both know that that’s true. I’m sure you’ll survive without me too. But we both know I’ll be back one day, in the same shit place, in the same shit town…” He hopes that if he does return, things will be different: “Please, just say you’ll change.”
The melodic “Lady Lovesick” offers up more fantastic, intricate guitar work, with a beguiling little riff that permeates the track. Chadwick’s drumming is particularly good on this track, as are the guys’ soaring harmonic backing choruses. It’s a lovely rock song.
The final track “When it Suits” is the longest song on the EP, and one of my favorites (though I honestly love them all). I’m blown away by the exuberant jangly guitars, which are gorgeous, and remind me a bit of The Cure. The lyrics painfully confront a partner in a relationship that’s broken: “You always say it’ll be the last time, but we both know that you’re wrong. I always seem to believe the lies that you tell, and just forget what you’ve done. Just one drink, one drink is all it takes. One drink to forget about me. / Now don’t you stay just until you sleep. If you don’t feel the same then you need to leave.”
Kosmonauts is an outstanding, well-crafted EP from start to finish, and an impressive debut for a young band with a lot of promise. I look forward to hearing more from these guys soon!