Album Review : Joel Jerome’s ‘Cosmic Bear Jamboree’

Listening to Joel Jerome’s new album you can’t help but get swept up in the guy’s joy for music making. There’s a feeling of a guy getting completely lost in his own little musical world. Jerome is an L.A.-based producer who’s studio has welcomed some of indie rock’s most up-and-coming artists. He’s worked hand-in-hand with labels like Burger, Lollipop, and Manimal Records. This time, though, Jerome is working on himself. The result is Cosmic Bear Jamboree, a full-length that has enough lo-fi grit, AM-radio nostalgia, and Stones-y twang to satisfy the most ardent indie rock fan.

Upon first spinning Cosmic Bear Jamboree I’m reminded of another monster of the indie/lo-fi music scene. Jerome seems to have tapped into Kelly Stoltz territory here, writing tunes that evoke a 70s childhood, had or imagined. A time when Gilbert O’ Sullivan played along side the radio dial with The Raspberries and David Bowie. He’s also vibing artists like Ty Segall(“Complicated Man”), Dr. Dog(“Cosmic Dancer”), Jim Noir(“I Was On Acid”), and even touches of Neil Young(“I Don’t Want To Die”).

But that’s not to say Jerome is just aping other artists. He’s not. He wears his influences proudly on his sleeve but puts them through a very unique southern California filter that’s equal parts sun-soaked and THC-enhanced. “You Are So Bad”, with its Bad Stone Phaser-flavored guitar opens the track with a space-y vibe which leads into an ethereal chorus that goes straight into the stratosphere. “Tell Me Things” shows off Jerome’s impressive guitar chops and a knack for twang-y, psychedelic pop that sounds baked in the southern L.A. sun for a bit. “Yr Love Is Weird” is an ode to burnout love that both sweet and disturbing. “Alcohol” gets pretty gritty with some nice garage rock guitar in the chorus, but at times it takes some serious “Light My Fire” flights of fancy which is a pleasant surprise.

In lesser hands this album may have come across trying too hard to hit all the right nostalgic notes. Fortunately, Joel Jerome has the chops and the perfectly aged vocal range that when you’re sitting there letting Cosmic Bear Jamboree wash over you it feels like you’ve discovered a lost classic. This could be the late summer/early fall record you’ve been looking for.

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