Alan Cohen Experience – Space & Time

Alan Cohen Experience – Space & Time

Pyschedelia was always something that was, definitely, trippy. People would argue that in order to fully understand and comprehend the realms of its spectrum you would most definitely need to be indulging in some kind of drug. For others, inspiration is the name of the game. And suitably so, if the mood strikes right, why not? I’m guessing that’s what Alan Cohen might have been thinking when he decided to make an album based off Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. And in true form, with his Alan Cohen Experience, the idiosyncratic pop songwriter takes us on his version of what the physics of magnetism, atoms and space all really have to do with time.

Like Tower of Power did with their query “What is Hip?”, Cohen digs into his arsenal with the bold question of “Is it Infinite?” Maintaining a vocal style that sounds like Cohen is singing through a mega-phone, the warble of the synths and crashing guitars disguise bliss around him. The science of Space & Time is then taken to further reaches with “Black Hole” and it’s 90s alternative rock shtick. Cohen seems to be unsure of what his overall scope should be; however, in dragging most of the album with songs that seem a bit too ambitious for their own good. He’s always been a joker, though the humor is more subdued this time around, but in true fashion Cohen makes up for it with his trademark flair.

Working with Tony Goddess, the two are responsible for all of the instruments on Space & Time. Cohen submits to his goal of always trying to be different, combining an element of study that most would see as serious, and trying to juxtapose it with lightly sprinkling melodies. For the most part, both Cohen and Goddess do a fine job in making each others’ jobs easier and, thus, each one is able to flourish. The fluidity of their chemistry sounds best on the U2-esque swoon of “A Dark Beauty,” in turning an ordinary ballad into something with a psychedelic, funky twist.

But there are plenty of moments where Cohen scales back the grandiosity of his aim with laid-back chugging pop, such as on “Arrows of Time.” An almost country shuffle feel – complete with organ – Cohen conjures his inner James Taylor on one of the album’s most genuine songs. It then makes swallowing the poor outing of “Madam I’m an Atom,” with its lazy guitar and drum pattern that much harder. Sequenced together, the latter’s repetition of “Oh madam, let’s talk about the atom” makes for a questionable opportunity and fortunately, it’s only a rare occasion.

I’ve never read A Brief History of Time but it’s obviously capable of inspiring great things as Cohen asks us to join him on “The Unification Song.” Whether or not Cohen decides to continue on this path towards greater psychedelia is something we’d have to wait for, but in the meantime there is plenty of good fun to go around. Space & Time is one of Cohen’s many swirling ideas: a solid, creative delivery of honest-to-goodness, carefree music.

“Arrows of Time” by Alan Cohen Experience

FamJam Records