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The Cosmic Giggle

Chutes & Ladders (2004)

Review by: Rafael Garcia
Date: 1/15/05

Far more gratifying than popular music is music that can and should be popular, but isn’t. Los Angeles’ The Cosmic Giggle provides such an example with Chutes & Ladders, their fourth album and a refreshing example of the pop genre’s ability to capture any audience. Mixing alternative rock with a heavy helping of jazz, and even throwing in ska and reggae at times, the Giggle provides a set of joyous, freeform, and hook-filled numbers sure to appeal to anyone.

The Cosmic Giggle successfully integrates a number of influences into tunes that rollick with enthusiasm and creativity. Easily the most impressive aspect of Chutes & Ladders is its constant adherence to pop sensibilities, despite the changing background of the surrounding music. With its double-vocalist setup, The Giggle manages to be a sort of Dave Matthews Band, yet with constant reinvention, as the exciting infusion of other elements, such as the bounce of reggae or the trot of ska, keeps the music fresh and new.

Listening to Chutes & Ladders, it’s readily apparent the band had a lot of fun recording this album. On “Amateur Night,” the irreverent “na na na” intro gives way to a memorable piano melody, as vocal styling recalls David Bowie or their progenitors, Spacehog. “On My Way” twists the stale white boy rap of Sugar Ray into a refreshing jazz-rocker, complete with doo-wah vocals.

The Cosmic Giggle has successfully compiled an entertaining and innovative work of art. Accessible enough to be on the soundtrack to a summer movie, yet squarely grounded in the realm of invention and self-made excellence, Chutes & Ladders stands on its own and merits a listen from anyone.

The Cosmic Giggle website

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