Cool It, Cohen’s solo debut, is an extension of the kaleidoscopic terrain evident on previous projects, but where those records rested blissfully in the sonic ether, Cool It reaches outward with more directness than ever, dropping a spotlight on Cohen’s arresting and unconventional songwriting. The melodic ebbs and flows might call Harry Nilsson to mind, while guitars and synths flicker under song forms, occasionally overtaking them in fits of molten stoner rock. Dynamic vocal deliveries turn sharp corners, ranging from gruff to tender, sometimes within a single stanza.
Cohen plays and recorded everything on the album himself (save a few guest appearances from his former Yellowbirds compatriots), largely in a week-long flurry in upstate New York. One creative gesture, captured with a lifetime’s worth of accumulated gear. Interestingly, all of the record’s lead synth hooks are performed on heavily processed guitars, a technique that saturates every mix with the feel of Cohen’s expansive and particular guitar virtuosity.
Pitchfork has called his work “willfully chaotic” and “highly refined” in the same review, while Paste has dubbed it “bedroom pop” and “a sonic tapestry.” Plaudits aside, he is an artist without consensus, evasive as ever, and finally all of the monikers, collusions, and alter-egos are stripped away. Introducing: SAM COHEN.