CD Review: Welcome To The Cosmic Factory

cosmicIt’s getting progressively difficult for a band to make their mark on the local music scene, let alone the national one. Young (and some not so young) ambitious musicians are putting together projects, armed with over a half century’s worth of inspiration, and marching out headlong into the cut-throat world known as the live club scene. To the outsider, these upstarts appear like mice running around a maze looking for that unattainable hunk of cheese, convinced with each turn that it’s located just around the very next corner. And yes, to the uninitiated eye, this chase might seem like an act of futility. But to hungry bands like The Cosmic Factory, all the obligatory hard work is quickly yielding rewards.

The Cosmic Factory is the brainchild of Rhode Island based guitarist Lee McAdams, who in 2008 began a two-year hunt for like-minded musicians to round out his vision for a funky, “trippy” hard-rocking trio. Though he would perform with several musicians before settling in on just the right combination, McAdams eventually enlisted the rhythm section of former schoolmates Mike Baker on bass and vocals, and Dewey Raposo on drums.

Although they have their own side-projects in which members often intermingle, The Cosmic Factory remains the band of priority for these three local rockers. After spending much time honing their collective skills by performing high-energy shows at venerable venues such as The Met, Providence’s The Spot, and Lupo’s, they have emerged with a nine song debut disc, Welcome To The Cosmic Factory.

Right from the opening moments of the disc’s first track, “Show You,” it’s clear that these guys have some chops. Rather than barreling in with an over-the-top knockout punch, the band eases the listener into the album, with a slithering groove laid down by some syncopated rhythms courtesy of Raposo, and Baker’s velvety approach to vocals in lines like: “I’d love to be the man to take you back to Heaven…”And holding all components together is the schooled guitar playing of McAdams, who with each unfolding section seems to channel another legendary guitarist, shifting from Junior Marvin to Jeff Beck to Jimmy Page, without as much as a hiccup.

Though the band culls much of its sound from classic artists, these guys are most certainly a modern outfit. The track “Stick Fishin’” is almost too catchy to be branded alternative, but nonetheless holds the earmarks of today’s 2013 rock sound. With its heavy driving rhythm and equally heavy grunge guitar tone, the song pulses along in shades of Alice In Chains but far more potent. I personally enjoyed the homage to The Beatles following the guitar solo, with the lines “Can you take me back where I came from. Brother can you take me back....”  Nice White Album reference, boys!

The entire disc encapsulates some of the strongest instrumentation I’ve heard from a local band in some time. In fact, the only fault I can find with Welcome to The Cosmic Factory lies in the track. “Good Vibrations.” There’s nothing wrong with the song itself mind you. To the contrary, it has an infectious ska/reggae beat with some great use of wah-guitar by Lee McAdams. That said, using the title of arguably the most celebrated and renowned studio recording of the 20th century is to say the least, ill-advised. I didn’t like it when Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch did it in 1991, and I don’t like it any more now!

But taken in total, that’s small criticism compared to the overall quality and talent The Cosmic Factory possesses. And if their quickly expanding fanbase serves as any indication, this trio is not merely running the maze in vain, but rather has a legitimate shot of making a real mark on the entire scene before long. I can’t wait to see what product comes out of the Factory next…