Hamilton band Coszmos Quartette describe their music with this adorable sentence: “tea time dream time.” It’s a seemingly nonsensical little description that I was tempted to write off as a whimsical quirk of the band but after a few listens it’s actually really perfect. The band’s folky s/t debut has the similarly calming power of a warm cup of tea but one that has been steeped in just enough psychedelics to make it sounds like it could be the soundtrack to your dreams or maybe a spacewalk. There’s acid in your tea cup! But most likely it’s just a really potent brew of Earl Grey.
Right off the bat, Brad Germain’s voice is an immediate draw. It’s storyteller’s voice – the kind that’s rich and clear and makes a room halt to attention. In “Echoes of Yesterday,” Germain sounds wistful, made more so by the subtle reverb treatment on his vocals, as he tries to grapple with whatever bad stuff has caused him to look back in fondness and in “Waiting” he puts the passage of time in perspective by looking up to the stars and diving into the “cosmic ocean.”
Rounding off the Quartette is Kate on flute and piano, Joel on upright bass, and Sara on violin, with everyone adding harmonies. The communal effect is continual waves of sonic warmth and endless intrigue. Album highlight “A Perfect Paradise” is a stringed affair that slips from blissful to ominous – like clouds rolling in on a sunny day – as the band sings of the terrible problem (the dark clouds in the song) in this “perfect paradise”: “it’s only for some.”
There’s a Walt Whitman quote that has since been diluted by commercialism and the tumblr generation but I’m going to use it here anyway. Whitman channels the voice of his spiritually enlightened narrator and writes, “I am large, I contain multitudes.” Coszmos Quartette’s intrigue is galactic. The band is large and contains multitudes of weirdness and beauty. Take a sip and kick back.
Top Track: “A Perfect Paradise”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)