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Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something - Oh Really, What’s That Then?

  by Dastardly

published: 24 / 12 / 2019

Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something - Oh Really, What’s That Then?
Label: Trapped Animal
Format: CD


Thrilling debut album from South London's finest DIY genre-blending glampunkers jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something

"What’s on your mind?" sings Jemma Freeman on one of the standout songs from their debut album. Well, thanks for asking Jemma. Actually I was just thinking what a fantastic album this is! Of all the bands currently locked in late-night laboratories cooking up South London's thriving DIY music scene perhaps Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something are the first ones to produce an album full of you know, actual s-o-n-g-s. Songs that excite, change the way you feel when you hear them and creep up on you like a vine in a Svankmejer stop-animation fantasy. Whereas live, Jermma and band are known for their full on electric three-piece guitar onslaught, 'Oh Really, What’s That Then?' captures them operating in a hinterland where genres flit in and out of the picture at random and dreams and nightmares are never far from the surface. Stonking garage glam opener 'Helen is a Reptile' sets the scene: "Helen is just a reptile/She represents my fears/She creeps about at bedtime and slithers in my ears." Then with the guitars still smoking they’ve pulled a u-turn most cabbies would be proud of and replaced them with blanket synths and a simple propulsive beat for next track 'Keytar (I Was Busy)' as Jemma spins a timeless yearning melody complete with proper hit single plonky keyboard trills. It's magic and will be stuck in your head for days. PJ Harvey looms large over 'Black Rain' with it's foreboding guitar lines and danger just around the corner. The previously mentioned 'What's On Your Mind?' takes a Facebook prompt for inspiration and mines beauty from the banal but it's 'Heaven on a Plate' that really hits as the lo-fi drunk guitars give way to a Pat Benatar of a chorus and Jemma's voice soars into power-rock heaven. Plus any song that references Vonnegut's classic novel 'Breakfast of Champions' is god-like, obviously. Elsewhere glitched satnavs take the listener on sudden left turns like the wistful 'Kopenhagen' that starts all woozy and tender before clattering down side streets and sounding not unlike fellow punk DIY enthusiasts The Plan. The first verse of 'Distant Places' perhaps sums up the spirit of adventure running though the record: "As I open these old pages, the words spring out at me/Forgotten routes and distant places that spread before like dreams?A thousand ideas stitched into the seams," sings Jemma as another haunting melody weaves into a stuttering guitar line and hold on tight, we're off again! I'm not sure where exactly but at one point I think we stopped at Michael Jackson's house and the doorbell played 'Incense and Peppermints'...it's psych-prog Jim, but not as we know it. Closer 'Tasteless' features some delicious Hendrix space soup guitar before the lift arrives and we're propelled back up out of this punk rocky horror vaudevillian netherworld. Onstage Jemma is a mess of rock god moves and gender-blurring alter egos and back on earth I keep finding myself thinking about that other South Londoner who liked to dress up and skip the genres. He’s already lurking in the 'Jean Genie' intro to 'Hard Times' and my guess is he’s going to be keeping a keen eye on their progress from up there in his tin can. Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something's new album is available on vinyl and download as well as CD.

Track Listing:-
1 Helen Is A Reptile
2 Keytar (I Was Busy)
3 Hard Times
4 Black Rain
5 What's On Your Mind?
6 Vines
7 Kopenhagen
8 Heaven On A Plate
9 Count To Ten
10 Distant Places
11 Tasteless

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live reviews

Shacklewell Arms, London, 8/11/2018
Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something - Shacklewell Arms, London, 8/11/2018
Dastardly discovers the ghosts of Glam Rock alive and well in the shape of Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something in the arches of an East London hostelry.

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