Cozmic Onion Express are one of those bands it would be far better to see live than listen to on this record. There’s nothing whatsoever wrong with it at all; in fact it’s a great introduction from one of the most zanily accomplished head-messing bands in London right now. The recording quality is fine, the dynamics are sharp, the energy conveyed is high – but they just need to be witnessed live, is the thing.
The sight of lead yelper and bassist Taishi Nagasaka (formerly of They Came From The Stars, I Saw Them and also just as essential to catch live in his even more wibbly Cosmetic Onion Shield guise, complete with silver-suited glow-stick dancing aliens), all gowned up in ceremonial robes and letting rip with a tableful of electronic devices while simultaneously giving the bass some is a start – the guitar fireworks of Christo Mccracken are set loose while cavorting all over the stage and auditorium is another, while Martin Dean flies off the handle (and stick, though not usually the stool) at the drumkit.The four tracks on their eponymous EP give a very good flavour of what it sounds like, of course – frenetic percussion; harmonious spacerocking psychedelic groove flowing on the crest of an FX wave; wibbly synths and electronics heading for the stars in an unholier than Boredoms mix of Amon Düül II and Acid Mothers Temple with a noise-jazz-funk twist. But really, it needs to be heard at very high volume levels in a small, overheated space filled with revellers, a lightshow and a smoky fug – or failing that, perhaps via time machine at a free festival in a Hackney park sometime in the latter part of the Seventies, Eighties or Nineties, accompanied by happily roaming dogs on and off strings and naked men with beards enjoying cider in the sun. Or similar; the key issue being that when this band play live, there’s a definite feeling that pretty much anything could happen – and usually, it does, explosively and more often than not uproariously.
So, given that many won’t yet get a chance to witness the shenanigans that Cozmik Onion Express get up to in front of a crowd, real or imaginary, notional or sweatily real, this EP will have to suffice as a first taste and an incentive to get out and see the band in performance should the opportunity arise.