While as a rule, I tend to avoid using other artists as adjectives when I’m writing about someone’s music, the Moments EP by Cosmo’s Midnight doesn’t give me any other option, because it functions as yet another distressing indicator of Australia’s ignoble tradition of cultural cringe than as a unique, sincere cultural object. While uniqueness and sincerity are not necessary conditions of any artist’s validity, given that Cosmo’s Midnight’s image seems to hinge on their uniqueness (and the sincerity therein) and the fact that this EP is bereft of it says oh-so-much-more than a few words on this inoffensive-at-best duo. But I’ll talk about the record first.
Beyond the few instances of a four on the floor kick – wherein Cosmo’s Midnight appear to be far more adept songwriters (‘Walk With Me’) than when they try to syncopate it and end up rhythmically tripping over the whole song (‘Snare’) – on Moments Cosmo’s Midnight are at their strongest when they’re pretending to be other people, like Ryan Hemsworth in ‘Trapped’ and Basenji in ‘Falling Out.’
And while this shameless biting irks me as self-proclaimed captain of #TeamHemmy, I probably wouldn’t have written this review at all if it hadn’t been for ‘Hurt,’ which is the best summary of everything that’s wrong with this EP and Cosmo’s Midnight: poorly mixed, with a kick that has no sense of rhythm stomping on its own melody, and a Japanese vocal sample just playing along in the background for no musically justifiable reason beyond being kawaii window dressing (in contrast to this, this and this). The song just feels as fake as their apparent fetishization of Japanese culture.
While repackaging other peoples’ sounds is a long and lucrative tradition in Australia (Silverchair, The Vines, Jet, Wolfmother, Boy and Bear, Tame Impala) this doesn’t make this practice acceptable nor justify the degree to which music journalists in Australia seem to leave their critical facilities at the door whenever they hear an Australian release, something which appears to have created a culture “whereby success is measured by the artist’s ability to replicate rather than apply any form of evolutionary processing.”
Cosmo’s Midnight are just another instance thereof.