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Album Review
Cosmic Palms

Cosmic Palms
by Full Moon Fiasco

Muzai Records

Review Date
13th October 2010
Reviewed by
Courtney Sanders

Will Rattray is an ambiguous musical creature. He walks a Wellington walk; a 1970’s nonchalant hippy vibe that’s tie-dyed bliss with the occasional dreadlock and hand made pant combo in tow. It’s the kind of walk, and perhaps heart, one images beating to timpani drums and Hare Krishna marches up Cuba Street whilst devouring vegan necessities and the occasional organic cider (if at all). But then, to completely contradict all this, there’s Rattray’s voice in Full Moon Fiasco, a deep, crooning (yes!) and sexually motivated drawl that is uncompromising in its consistency. And there’s also the immaculate production of both of his musical outfits – Thought Creature and Full Moon Fiasco – that is entirely down to Rattray himself. An ambiguous notion indeed is Mr. Rattray, and one that Cosmic Palms, more so than any previous output, is all the better for.

The title of the album, the band’s moniker, and the track titles all scream the former Mr. Rattray. And so does his lyrical countenance; conjuring full moons, finding satisfaction in our measly consumer-driven society (through a third eye, obviously) and just generally fighting the man. But that’s when you can understand him, and here’s the kicker; this post-modern lyrical construct is being emanated from a near incomprehensible animalistic and reverb-affected scrawl. It pierces through the melody (which is aggressive and, appropriately, psychedelic) like a professionally constructed, cosy, quilt (visually comparable to those travelling worm holes in Donnie Darko). And then there’s the melody itself: constructed from completely inorganic gothic keyboards and aggressive post punk guitars underpinned by cymbal thwomping and general feedback intonation which is as far removed from the African chic Kaftan-expanse one would imagine Rattray penning. Instead, he marries a similar intellectual countenance to Animal Collective et al (fatalism, young, liberal gripes) but represents it in an engaging fashion far removed from the abundance of world-music-chill-wave, and for this he should be applauded. Full Moon Fiasco’s sound is not without its obvious influences – late night listens to Sgt. Peppers and The Doors spring to mind – but the variation across the nine tracks that appear on the album, the originality of that vocal and the sheer ambiguity of their deal live sets them above any throwback arguments.

And, finally, to bring these disparate elements together is the production, by Rattray himself as a result of some professional training that has served him well throughout all Thought Creatures releases and now, Cosmic Palms. Lush and draping, it is not only clear that Rattray’s musical and production duties are in sync, but without said production, the diverse pieces Rattray brings to the puzzle may not fit together quite as successfully.


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