A concept album? Pretension in the periphery? Time travelling larceny? “Beyond The Silver Sea” by Glasgow’s superstar pop professors Dr Cosmo’s Tape Lab is all these things and more. Or less if your imagination has been stunted by the consumption of too much processed cheese.
Stitched together by a somewhat irreverent and nonsensical narration, the songs on this album revive, in the most reverential fashion, the glories of pop music from back in the days of flares. It’s a style thing, of course, but when you are overdosing on the combined party pills of melody and chorus, you will always sound, and look, good.
If I were a preacher then I would expect no less of my congregation than a combined hallelujah in worship of the harmonic joys of “City and The Stars” or “In Lieu of Something Better”. The philosophers amongst you might well suspect they detect the hand of the Devil in there somewhere but, too late, for the collection plate has already been passed around and there is musical currency aplenty in it.
There’s even a genuine ten bob note or two in there with “Pie, Mash & Liquor” and “The Storehouse of Fools” being manic and yet oblique resprays of the joys of both sides of the pub rock coin. The hits keep coming, or at least they would if there were still such things, as “Dr Chester’s Pleasure” liberally quotes from the highlights of early seventies rock before “The Long Sleep” leads us psychedelically out into space. It’s Ground Control to Major Tom only Major Tom is on the mixed pakora this time around.
The narration aside, “Beyond The Silver Sea” ticks all the boxes that lovers of quirky pop music would need ticked and my glass of refreshing tonic wine is duly lifted to the glory that is Dr Cosmo’s Tape Lab.
The album is also available as a limited vinyl release on Sugarbush Records which is, as you will have guessed by now, God’s will.