As 1980’s era music continues to be influential on even the youngest of today’s musicians, it’s not out of the ordinary to see a band so obviously reference the synthesizer-heavy hits of the decade. Few, however, strive to capture the grandeur of that time, and fewer still do so unironically.
In other hands, Cosmic Hearts might have come off cheeky and insincere, but Tulsa band The Wright Brothers provides a rich, rewarding experience for unapologetic pop lovers, even from the highest of falsettos. Robust choruses filled with densely harmonized vocals strike gold on tracks like “Theophany” and “Your Love Is All I Want”. When combined with straightforward pop chords and dazzling synths and guitars, it’s clear that the album is going all-in with its epic vision
That vision admittedly is one that borders dangerously on complete cheese and will depend largely on personal taste. The full-length album, which was released last September, says it all with its airbrushed album art. In terms of 80s artists, think Erasure, Journey, and particularly Styx, especially starting around “Together” at track four.
The album title properly encompasses the themes of the material, which are primarily love and the great expanse of the universe. Cosmic Hearts is not unlike the band’s 2012 EP, You, Me, and the Universe, in this regard, but the new LP brings that ambitious perspective to a much bigger scale, thanks in part to a successful Kickstarter campaign. Cosmic Hearts feels like the record The Wright Brothers have wanted to make from day one.
Admittedly, the synthesizers date the album at times, but it would be a mistake to call it stuck in the past. The production is up to snuff, and the soundscapes that the brothers create could only exist in a world postdated by 2000s instrumental post-rock.
In fact, when opener “Rocketship” kicks off the LP, it’s hard to gauge exactly what experience lay in wait for the listener. It sounds at first like a routine indie pop affair, but as it launches into the heavens, it’s clear the group’s ambitions lay elsewhere. When the 48-minute journey climaxes with sensational closer “Fireworks” the brothers prove to have a variety of influences that keep them from being so easily pigeonholed.
More critical listeners may find the LP too formulaic and bombastic, but an album called Cosmic Hearts was never really meant for cynics. The Wright Brothers make music for the fun-loving and the freewheeling. This is music for neon lights, dancing late into the night, and falling head over heels in electric love.
This article was originally written for Cellar Door Music Group (cellardoormusicgroup.com). It is archived here with the publisher’s permission.