Yellow Ostrich


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New York City-based Yellow Ostrich have grown over three albums from an adventurous and frenetic lo-fi indie rock band, to a sophisticated, often impressive experimental art rock band. Still centered around singer/songwriter Alex Schaff, Yellow Ostrich's third full-length-album, 2014's Cosmos, is an expansive and layered effort that showcases the band's ever maturing sound. Engineered by Beau Sorenson (Death Cab for Cutie, Sparklehorse) and mixed by Paul Kolderie (Radiohead, Dinosaur Jr.), Cosmos is the first album recorded by Yellow Ostrich since the departure of co-founding member Jon Natchez. This time out, Schaaf, along with guitarist Jared Van Fleet, bassist Zach Rose, and drummer Michael Tapper, delve deep into a handful of songs that take inspiration from the work of such thinkers as writer/cosmologist Carl Sagan, astrophysicist Frank Drake. This influence is primarily evident in Schaaf's probing, questioning lyrics that find metaphorical meaning for our emotional desires in the universe. In “You Are the Stars,” Schaaf sings, “You are the stars that run through my veins and I’m reaching up to touch and feel on my face/I know you belong to others/ I’m not alone/But let me pretend/You’re all I ever have known.” Musically on Cosmos, Schaaf splits the difference between Yellow Ostrich's muscular 2012 rock opus Strange Land and the more chilled-out, R&B-infused 2013 EP Ghost. Even with the differences between those albums, Yellow Ostrich has always evinced a '70s art rock vibe and indeed, a couple of the songs on Cosmos, "Shades" and "Any Wonder," have a psychedelic quality featuring sustained criss-cross guitar patterns and circular drum beats. Elsewhere, Schaaf leavens that psychedelia with a ruminative, electronic sound and tracks like "My Moons," and "How Do You Do It?" bring to mind the brainy, minimalist synthesizer sound of such '70s Krautrock bands as Kraftwerk and Neu!. Much like our ever expanding universe, Yellow Ostrich's Cosmos is an infinitely listenable album that holds up to repeated scrutiny.

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