EP Review: “Cosmic Renaissance” by Dulcinea
The band is split in half – each camp on either side of the causeway. The members all hold full-time jobs, only moonlighting as rock musicians after they knock off.
And yet with these restrictions, Dulcinea is back (hiatus forgiven) with Cosmic Renaissance, an EP that’s basically the Zouk of rock, as the club-goers (read: sub-genres) mingle within it.
As per what’s expected of them, the quartet explores another philosophical aspect of life in this venture, experimenting with the themes of post-tragedy rebirth and self-actualisation through a musical chronicle of an individual breaking down, before rising from his own ashes.
Divesting themselves of their progressive clothing (à la 2011’s In The Shadow Of The Sun), Dulcinea inches closer to alternative work in this effort, while simultaneously dipping their toes into the gentle aggression that encompasses this genre.
Gone are the long instrumental breaks, replaced by vocalist Gerard Richard’s hard-to-imitate vocals. Deep metaphorical references are shed, as the band gets more literal with their lyrics, leaving the listener with few questions as to what the songs actually mean.
Opening track “Stardust” features a heavier, more alternative sound, a startling contrast to the progressive-centered predecessor. We had our moment of “wait… this is Dulcinea, the Dulcinea?” at our first listen, and you probably would too.
“A State Incarnate”, on the other hand, is a blast from the past with its old school, classic rock sound featuring Gerard’s vocals that felt like what Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain would’ve sounded like had he swallowed a vat of honey. Nevertheless, we believe Gerard should now prepare for a throng of fan girls coming his way.
Before shrugging the band off as yet another group that merely emulates popular genres, it has to be said that the quintet threw bits of their souls (like horcruxes) into the aforementioned number, featuring an instrumental interlude merging three different riffs in perfect harmony by guitarists Matthew Thomas and Paul Yong, as well as bassist Jason Ng.
Refuge, however, came in the form of the EP’s pièce de résistance, “Transcendence”; the rose among the thorns, and a breath of fresh air with its significantly slower time signature (read: something you can consider putting into your yoga playlist) and instrumentation that’s unlike the previous tracks. And like the track’s namesake, the number had Cosmic Renaissance transcend the ranks of “just another EP” to one that’s clearly the result of intense artistic scrutiny that left no stones unturned.
We could have easily just shelved this as one kickass album, but the parallel between Cosmic Renaissance and Dulcinea was what struck us the most. After all, both the 4-man outfit and its brainchild have had a musical coup d’etat of sorts.
The quartet had a rebirth and grew alongside Cosmic Renaissance, reincarnating themselves into a band cleverly manipulating various rock genres into a melting pot of that facet of music.
With their musical coup in this effort, we’re interested to see just how much they’d change when they get their heads together for the next venture.