Cosmic Punch, a DIY pop rock duo from Florida, market their sound as “a mix of the ‘60s, ’70s and ‘80s with a dash of modern production,” and emphatically list a number of influences, such as The Beatles, Queen, ELO, and Boston. Their debut, FM Stereo, is an attempt to bring back the sounds of the old days with a playful and easygoing twist.
“One-Man Pop Band” opens the album with a sound that aside from an all-too obvious circus interlude in the style of Sgt. Pepper, shows promise for the album as an infectious alternative rock song with a quirky vibe. Already with the next few tracks “She Makes Me Feel” and “She’s A Girl,” two pseudo-‘60s pop ballads, things take a sharp turn as the band relies on more of its influences. The crunchy “How Do I” delivers a power pop vibe but with a style modeled after Boston, something that presents itself again on a few more tracks.
Elements ranging across the band’s pool of influences mix intermittently, culminating on the mid-album track “Long Slow Road,” a whirling mix where everything from The Kinks and Boston to ELO and The Beatles can all be heard, although as with the rest of the album, nothing transcends the almost bubblegum feel the songs are rooted in.
It is altogether not a bad effort that Cosmic Punch have attempted. The quirky and feel-good power pop vibe combined with classic rock elements is promising, but the songs simply aren’t strong enough to make the experiment work. Instead, they make the album sound overcrowded, and the “musical casserole” the band refers to ends up sounding a bit too cheesy.