Spoilsport Records are ecstatic to announce the second album from Kosmetika, ‘Illustration’. Following on from their debut LP ‘Pop Soap’, released in 2019 through independent Melbourne label Roolette Records, the band refresh their eccentric psych pop origins with an 11 track venture into DIY new-wave, art-rock and synth-heavy pop hits.
Unable to work on music as the five-piece band, co-founders Michael Ellis and Veeka Nazarova started working on ‘Illustration’ as a home recording project. Recorded entirely by Ellis, with the finishing touches provided by Sam Harding on mixing and Mikey Young on mastering, the album has the quality of a lost release from the 80’s underground, equally as poppy as it is exploratory and strange. With Nazarova taking the reins as the sole vocalist on the record (departing from the dual lead vocalists of ‘Pop Soap’) and the lyrics switching between English and her native tongue of Russian, the record feels simultaneously pensive, imaginative and enigmatic.
Taking heavy inspiration from shoegaze, dark/synth wave and Russian gothic pop music, ‘Illustration’ is led by captivating synth sounds, intricate drum machine, melodic basslines and odd-form structures while maintaining their usual pop sensibilities. ‘Psycho TV’ and ‘Mne Nadoeli’ showcase the band delving deeper into this territory of abrasive industrial sounds, while tracks such as ‘Mokryj Asphalt’ hold steady in their power pop knack with an instantly singable chorus. Sitting somewhere in between, Kosmetika still maintain their krautrock-inspired origins, clinging to motorik beats and sharp synth melodies like in ‘Eighty Four’ or ‘Opaque’.
Illustration is painted with a broad brush but woven into something unique and cohesive, and with this record Kosmetika have managed to make a modern underground new-wave pop gem.