For the 9th release in what's becoming an epic release history, Mia Doi Todd has broken her own explorational tradition for a unified disc that often sings with twists on old south of the border sophistications while luxuriating in balmily soporific hedonism. Starting in Paraty, there's always at least a trace of the exotic and sometimes a seductive bossa/samba feel to things, alongside the folky, wispy, fairytale, lullaby embroidery of lacy delicacy so frequently normal to the vocalist's wont. The third cut, Under the Sun, has classic (or standard) written all over it. A stunningly Drake-ian cut, it could have been a track left off Nick's landmark Five Leaves Left release. Beyond doubt, as much as Todd's work has been heretofore interesting, whimsical, and multisensorial, with Cosmic Ocean Ship she has reached a new level of surprising maturity and brought back the feel of Joni Mitchell's Blue period, albeit vastly more soporific and blended with Astrud Gilberto.
The torpor and sensuality of Cosmic in fact have nothing at all to do with sidereal concerns and everything to do with harmonies of terra firma in an Ibiza styled layback, a paradisiacal place of soma and song. This is beautifully maintained throughout the CD, not unmixed with wistfulness and infusions of regret, as in The Rising Tide and elsewhere. Todd has been a darling of the alt-radio doyens, and deservedly so, but this arresting disc should bring her straight up into the mainstream, and if DownBeat magazine doesn't take a deep shine to her now…well then, the editorial staff is as provincial as I've long thought it had turned (sigh!). In fact, underscoring the transition of the chanteuse, Howlin' Wuelf Media has issued a very well composed promo sheet sporting an exotic snap of Todd a la Avedon or Skrebneski by way of Cleopatra (and you're going to have to know your ne plus ultra photo-portraitists to follow that allusional trail, Bunky), a particularly smart move, as Cosmic Ocean Ship should do for the singer what their respective break-out discs did for Sade and Bjork.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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