Style over content from Brighton via Norway

The press blurb for this says that the CoStar's lead singer, the excellently named Brighton Gay (the bassist is the equally impressive Dusty Domino), was brought up on the mighty sounds of Black Sabbath and the unfettered genius of Mark Bolan. With an unholy alliance of influences like that, a demonically heady concoction is expected, but alas this is no “20th Century Paranoid Boy”. What you get instead is pretty much porridge all the way with the occasional aromatic scrap: a lumpy kind of XFM daytime friendly stew that leaves you craving something more nutritious. That’s not to imply CoStar wont achieve a modicum of success, in today’s harsh climate people seem to be drawn to a certain type of safe plod rock, just look at XFM’s complicity in the crime of bringing Keane to our attention, a band with all the charm of a Financial Times index column.

That said, CoStar are accomplished musicians, the songs have good structure, the singer has on occasion an engaging voice and there’s an obvious level of creativity gone into their image, but ultimately they don’t amount to the sum of their parts. The opening two songs pass you by in hazy blur, leaving you in a grasping amnesiac state wondering where the time went. The third track, “Special” is more interesting and mildly surprising after the opening, a swampy groove is driven along with voodoo drums and horizontal vocals. It almost succeeds until you realize its similarity to Ian Brown’s recent output.
The rest is commonplace rock fodder intercut with the odd appealing, breathy female backing vocal and in places sounding suspiciously like the overrated Foo Fighters. The LP signs off with a song called “Dying of Boredom”, and with a gift title like that its best that I dont comment.

The arch Alchemist Brian Eno once said that he knew it was time to quit Roxy Music when one night during a gig he started to wonder how on earth he was going to get his catsuit dry cleaned for the following night's performance. I experienced a similar thought process here, about half way through I started to think, “umm that wall could do with a lick of paint”. The point being that pop music or any music for that matter should take you out of the mundane and elevate you to a place of sublimity, but when it just leaves you contemplating the mundane something is seriously askew.