Review: The Death Of Discovery by David Cosma

I have 2 discs on high rotation at the moment.

One is disc 2 of Angela Hewitt’s Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 by JS Bach, comprising the preludes and fugues from F# up to B minor. It’s not bad. The other is David Cosma’s The Death of Discovery.

I’m getting too old for rubbish music, and if I’m not mistaken, so are Mr Cosma and his colleagues. They are tighter than a four-part fugue, but make my head explode a bit less, which is a good thing really.

I know nothing about this Melbourne singer-songwriter except this album; on the basis of it I am keen to hear more – he’s got a voice in the post-Lennon range like many of his and my vintage, but there’s an originality and vitality in the writing and performance that wreaks twists into each song.

A great example is the chorus of lead cut Never Again – after the breakdown middle 8 it comes back with a new melody and chords under the same words and rhythm. All over the album are similar tweaks to the familiar, which kept me guessing through multiple listens.

Performances are spot-on, virtuosic in places, but the energy is spontaneous, and the tone sweetly ironic at times. The genre nods are comforting but don’t disrupt the singer-songwriter relationship with the listener – it’s a mix of styles in service of a coherent song cycle.

Bach did something similar with his Well-Tempered Clavier, having travelled hundreds of miles by foot to hear new sounds from all over Europe and mix them up to make them his own.

At 333, he’s definitely too old for rubbish music, and I’m pleased to say I think he and David Cosma would get along famously.