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Album Review: Cosmic Thrill Seekers

Prince Daddy & The Hyena’s second record is a rock-opera for the ages.

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Album Review: Cosmic Thrill Seekers
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After many months and years of teasing and waiting, after a 5-year or more writing process that precedes even their debut album, I Thought You Didn't Even Like Leaving, after a "leaked" intro track and 3 singles, after anticipating for weeks after pre-ordering, Cosmic Thrill Seekers, Prince Daddy & The Hyena's sophomoric effort is finally here, and it announces itself loudly, proudly, and creatively without even an ounce of doubt to its memorability. From the first few acoustic notes of I Lost My Life to the final ones of Wacky Misadventures Of the Random Passerby, every single note, lyric, and Melody is meticulously placed and powerfully and proudly displayed.

There are different layers to what CTS is about, but to sum them up simply, it's about the intense anxieties that can come about after an acid trip, during the mentally-strenuous comedown; and it's about Kory's own personal struggles with mental health and the way it cycles and manifests in anxiety and paranoia. It's so perfectly expressed and blended that the whole record, despite being split into three acts--"Act I: The Heart/Driver", "Act II: The Brain/Passenger", and "Act III: The Roar/Random Passerby"--is incredibly cohesive and seamless. To further drive the point of mental health being a cycle home, the final notes of "Wacky Midadventures of the Random Passerby" fade directly into the opening riff of "I Lost My Life," the album's opener.

And, much as these tracks perfectly segue into one another, so do the ends of our struggles with mental health, even if it's under the nose as opposed to the obvious callbacks the record provides. But this isn't a solemn record, nor is it a hopeless one. It is full of positive imagery, hearkening back to The Wizard Of Oz in lines such as "Just click those heels together gently, all it takes is three" in Dialogue, and "tried on those old slippers, guess I just missed the feeling" in Dream Nails, along with many positive images of love and hope, particularly in Cosmic Thrill Seeking Forever (a song so influential that I got a tattoo based on it) and even the final lines in the aforementioned closing track Wacky Misadventures... wherein the final lines of the entire album are so positive and joyous that I don't feel comfortable spoiling them for you, you'll just have to listen to it in full and find out yourself.

Besides the anxious moments expressed, there are also hopeful and outright romantic lyrics to be found such as the refrain "Notice the moon orbiting you/Ain't it just like I do" and most other lyrics contained within Cosmic Thrill Seeking Forever, and the words within Wacky Misadventures "I need you to know that regardless how I show it/I think about you all the time and wish you were how I'm spending mine." These are not the only cute, gentle lyrics within the album but they are, in my opinion at least the most profound among them. Those familiar with the band's past works may even recognize some callbacks, intended or otherwise, within the lyrics of CTS.

In between all of the juxtaposed moments of stress and joy and of anxiety and romance, are images of pain, confusion, and hyper-obsession with the most minor inconveniences, such as one's own aging and mortality, the way anxiety manifests, or simply worrying that your friends' work and social lives outside of yourself are equal to a growing disdain for you personally. Despite all of this, though, CTS is far from a bleak record. It is full of so many catchy melodies and riffs that it is impossible to listen to even the most emotionally compromised words Kory wrote for the record without having a huge smile on your face.

Prince Daddy & the Hyena managed to take everything they hinted at in their past projects and expand upon them in levels absolutely unimaginably huge, and made it all sound somehow as effortless as it is profound. This record had so much hype that no one, not even their most loyal fans, were sure it would live up to it in any way, shape, or form, and instead it managed to surpass everyone's, even their own expectations to a level of power and joy and enjoyability so large that even after nearly a month of the record being on repeat it still has not even begun to grow old or stale. I foresee people looking back at CTS a decade or more down the line and call it a majorly influential record.

From the intro to I Lost My Life with Kory setting the scene for the whole record with "You tried to put a documentary on the galaxy on/I left the room to check my phone," the listener gets the first hints of the general themes of the record and the kind of overwhelmingly anxious moments it's gonna dive into. What isn't expected is the level of beauty that fits in between the layers and the way it all meshes, with not only the lasting images of not only space and The Wizard of Oz, but also the proverbial angels and devils on shoulders. The subjects discussed--whether or not you struggle with the kind of existential anxieties and paranoia that Kory does--are in some way or another universal to anyone who may listen and experience this album.

With choice tracks, in my humble opinion at least, such as Dialogue, Cosmic Thrill Seeking Forever, Breather, Ursula Merger, and Wacky Misadventures of the Passenger; this record manages to elevate itself far beyond the expectations you may have even while listening to it for the first time or hundredth time. There are so many moments where even just a word or two being reiterated with a new vocal inflection or over a different riff or full-on musical composition raise the overall experience to greater and greater heights and tug on the heartstrings and neurons in the brain in new, more clever ways.

While their first record, I Thought You Didn't Even Like Leaving, may have spawned many copycats within the modern post-revival emo scene, I am almost certain with CTS this band has proved they are truly inimitable and furthermore possess a sense of careful grandeur and borderline-obsessive attention detail that other bands could only hope to achieve. I don't speak lightly when I say that CTS is one of the most impressive records I've ever heard or that I will never tire of it.

Cosmic Thrill Seekers is quite a title, and it lives up to every ounce of hype that you'd expect from Cosmic Thrills, in many mind-blowing ways. I have been struggling to find the words to write this properly since the day of release, and I finally am here to loudly proclaim my amazement and love for this album. I can speak to its merits for hours at length and still not properly convey all it contains. As my dear friend, Olivia Keasling, once said "CTS is a beast, I applaud anyone who has written about it," and her words have never rang truer in my mind than when I was writing this review. No amount of publicity and good journalism can properly convey the powerful messages and beauty living within this record, we all will pale in comparison. If you really want the full experience, you have to listen to it yourself in full here, or buy it physically here for even more nuanced enjoyment.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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