Well, well, well! I’ll be darned if Mark Nicholas hasn’t gone and written the perfect orthodox synthpop album. This is his tenth and supposedly final Cosmicity album, and it comes with all the speeches and fireworks of of a farewell party. The escape pod is the marriage that Mark is settling into, and the album is a grand metaphoric trip into this new and unknown domestic universe.
”Escape Pod for Two” is the epitome of all science fiction-themed electronic pop. Obviously the music – like SF-literature – is rarely actually concerned with space trips or futuristic technology as much as putting the hopes and fears, too large to express directly, into words in order to try and make sense of them. This can be more or less obvious in different works, but ”Escape Pod for Two”, a concept album about a journey into space doubling as a diary of one persons thoughts and feelings about a relationship, brings the notion home very clearly. Space, like love, is the great unknown.
The albums of Cosmicity remind me somewhat of American autobiographical comics in their obsessive depiction of the artist’s personal life. Nicholas even elaborates at length about the meaning and background of each song and its lyrics on his website, which might sound like a very bad idea. Oddly, it isn’t. Instead he comes across an honest person, and Cosmicity as a band you wish you had discovered in your teens when identification with the artists was all-important.
Musically ”Escape Pod for Two” is a major development and easily ranks as the best Cosmicity album to date. Always having had a strong pop sensibility, Nicholas outdoes himself on the brilliant ”Regenerate” as well as on ”Sedgwick”, conjuring the warm atmosphere of classic synthpop classics like ”Photographic”. Other tracks work as bridges and breathing spaces between the chorus driven songs, lulling you into the stillness of the free floating space pod. The Cosmicity sound has evolved to the point where, despite the generous use of the whole new romantic sound palette, the sources of inspiration have become hard to point out. In contrast to a huge amount of the bands of this genre, Cosmicity has ceased being a clone and really flowered after years of slow growth.
God forbid that this should be the last we hear from Cosmicity.