Release Date: Oct 11, 2011
Record label: The Middle Ground
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
Nowadays, pop music has plenty of weirdness to it (See: Gwar, all screamo bands). It also has enough singer-songwriters to fill a million coffee shops. But rare is the artist who is really weird and still wonderfully talented. Cue New Jersey-born, England-raised artist Cosmo Jarvis. Already ….
Full disclosure: this record is a bit of mess. At least at first. Cosmo Jarvis moves between pop, snotty, Green Day-like punk, ska, reggae, hip-hop, and even a dash of heavy metal (sometimes in the space of a bridge and a chorus) with an effortlessness and a carelessness that you have to stand back and admire time and again across this disc. True to the restlessness exhibited here Jarvis is restless in his career, having worked as an actor, director, producer and a man capable of playing loads of instruments.
Surely the only singer/songwriter album where you'll find rousing sea shanties alongside conversational, acoustic hip-hop and shouty folk-punk, New Jersey-born, Devon-raised troubadour Cosmo Jarvis' second album, Is the World Strange or Am I?, perhaps answers its own question with its highly unusual, eclectic sound. Eccentric it may be, but the follow-up to the equally ambitious double-album Hum as You Hitch/Son of a Bitch, shows that there's substance to his style, as the homophobia-addressing, hearty singalong "Gay Pirates," recently championed by the likes of Stephen Fry and Jarvis Cocker, and the Frank Turner-esque "My Day," which sees him criticize today's youth from the perspective of his 70-year-old self, suggest the versatile singer, actor, and director fancies himself something of a "voice of his generation," a neat contrast to the schoolboy humor displayed on the summery reggae of "She Doesn't Mind" and Just Jack-style, disco-tinged "Dave's House. " Of course, its schizophrenic nature means that Jarvis runs the risk of being a jack of all trades but a master of none, as the swirling ballroom organ-led garage-rock of closer "Betty" and the plodding indie landfill of "The Talking Song" suggest rock certainly isn't his forte, while the gorgeously woozy, Hawaiian folk of "Is the World Strange?" and the infectious banjo-plucking surf-pop blues of "Sure as Hell Not Jesus" -- the former of which includes one of several Mike Skinner-esque stream of consciousness raps that are peppered throughout the album -- shows its lack of focus isn't to cover up any musical shortcomings.
There is surely room for an artistic exploration of the issue of homosexuality in the buccaneering community. A response is needed to Barry R Burg’s scholarly 1983 tome [i]Sodomy And The Pirate Tradition[/i].Yet, although [b]Stephen Fry[/b] was apparently enamoured of [a]Cosmo Jarvis[/a]’ ditty [b]‘Gay Pirates’[/b], the rinky-dink, seaside-pub-banjo is hardly up to the drama and intrigue that would no doubt have accompanied an old salt’s exploration of the Northwest Passage. At least on that track, though, Jarvis is not rapping over plastic folk or indie skiffle, as he does elsewhere throughout this perplexing and risible album.Luke TurnerOrder a copy of Cosmo Jarvis’ ‘Is The World Strange Or Am I?’ from Amazon .
A rare example of an artist following his instincts and his heart. Mischa Pearlman 2011 With a name like Cosmo Jarvis, most people would probably assume the answer to the singer’s second album’s question is that it’s the 22-year-old who’s odd. That may be, but this record illustrates just how weird the world is, too – holding a mirror up to its idiosyncrasies and peculiarities with a tongue firmly in its cheek.
Both. That’s the apparent answer to the question posed by eccentric U.K. songsmith Cosmo Jarvis on his sophomore record, Is The World Strange Or Am I Strange? Jarvis, as hyper-imaginative as he is hyperactive, takes listeners on a bumpy yet nevertheless scenic ride across scads of genres, ideas and narratives, all framed within his quirky yet occasionally enlightening perspective on the world.Initially, Is The World comes off as a Flight Of The Conchords-style collection of eclectically silly tunes, a misconception that isn’t helped any by a lead-off track about gay pirate lovers whose gimmicky kitsch is hard to stomach once, let alone multiple times through.