Review: Church of the Cosmic Skull The Rescue Rooms Nottingham

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For a long time psychedelia was a dirty word in music – throughout the 90’s and the 00’s, only really The Flaming Lips and the Super Furry Animals really kept the fire burning. Recently, the genre has had a huge resurgence. Antipodean bands Tame Impala and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have been at the forefront of this movement and Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve from Britain released their debut album this year.
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Now it’s Nottingham’s turn to get in on the act. Church Of The Cosmic Skull are part seven-piece band, part new religious movement, who want to free mankind from their material possessions and unify all living beings into a singular cosmic whole. They start their mission with their first ever gig which is held at The Rescue Rooms and doubles as a launch party for their debut album, “Is Satan Real?”
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Following two support bands, Prophets Of Saturn and Crumbling Ghost, who come straight out of 70’s central casting, Church Of The Cosmic Skull arrive on stage all in white, like a cross between The Polyphonic Spree and the Droogs from A Clockwork Orange. The lead singer/guitarist is tall and thin with long hair and a hat, all of which combines to give him a faintly Mick Fleetwood-esque appearance. He’s flanked by a pair of female backing singers, a bassist, an electric cellist, a Hammond organ player and a drummer behind him.
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Musically, they have that 1970’s heavy psych sound, a little like Hawkwind, and they sound absolutely fantastic. While they’re heavy, they’re not really heavy but they do have a real depth of sound that the Hammond organ, the electric cello and the six-part vocal harmonies all contribute to. They also have an absolutely stunning light show – for a debut gig it’s a tremendous performance.
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In between songs, there is very little interaction with the audience. Instead, there is a projector showing phrases that emphasise the band’s designs on being a religious movement. We’re told about “freedom”, “facing mistakes” and the “hallucinatory reality of nature”. Maybe I’m the only one who sees the irony in a band trying to free mankind from material possessions at the same time as trying to sell their new album.
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As with all psychedelic bands, a couple of their songs meander a little, but that could just be my punk sensibilities showing. It does feel like I was at the beginning of something genuinely different for Nottingham and something that was incredibly exciting. I can’t wait to see what Church Of The Cosmic Skull do next and where they could take this. Whatever they do, it should be exhilarating.

 

By Gav Squires

@GavSquires

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