SINGLE: ‘Trust is Blind’ – The Cosmics

The Cosmics / Psychedelic Eye Words by Ed King / Pics by Psychedelic Eye – courtesy of The Cosmics

On Friday 30th November, The Cosmics release ‘Trust is Blind’ – the lead single from their forthcoming debut EP.

Now anything coming from The Cosmics is a reason to sit up and pay attention, with the Birmingham based three piece being easily, confidently, absolutely one of the best live acts to come from The Midlands right now. And I’m a professional cynic.

But the feisty garage rock that The Cosmics have been boot kicking off stage and across t’interweb, since the gloriously sharp and short ‘Johnny’ in 2016, has taken a back seat here – giving way to what the press release calls ‘a delicate, heartfelt break up ballad developing into feisty ‘fuck you’ noise rock with honest lyrics’. And you know what… it’s dayum good.

Honestly, when first I sat down to review ‘Trust is Blind’ I had to check I wasn’t listing to Mazzy Star. Which is often a strong possibility at my desk. And a strong plus. But the opening soft riff, giving way to Erin Grace sounding as Hope Sandoval as you’re going to get (without actually being Hope Sandoval) is a page straight from the guitar led low-fi bible.

But then, just over a minute and a half into this nearly four minute single, all hell breaks loose. To use another very commendable comparison – ‘Starla’ by Smashing Pumpkins. And that is again A O fucking K with me (they swore first). The tempered and teased out beginning, which is delivered with aplomb (not everyone in the genre can – yes, I’m talking to you Low) bends over and gets royally shafted by a visceral account of love, trust, betrayal and how “you really messed up my mind, truth is blunt, trust is blind”. At least I thinks that’s what Grace is singing, but the ferocious cacophony is an unassailable sonic stamp on just how shitty/shifting/capicious love can be.

(N.B. HEALTH WARNING / Gig going public and venue owners beware, when this glorious monster gets played live you may witness the first recorded flight from a Marshall amp – possibly followed by a few bodies and bar stalls for good measure.)

But if you click on the single cover artwork you can have a listen to ‘Trust is Blind’, in all its spellbinding softness and rock and roll glory, and can make up your own minds. This is either going to work for you or it’s not. Although you may be in the wrong room if you start turning your proboscis towards the sky.

All I can do is sign off with my own two cents, ‘Trust is Blind’ is an absurdly exciting move from a band who already have that live music mojo pulsing though their veins – paving the way for an EP I will be shoving aside the elderly to get my hands on first. In short, me like. More please. Lots, lots more.

The Cosmics release their latest single, ‘Trust is Blind’, on Friday 30th November. For more on The Cosmics, visit / To listen to ‘Trust is Blind’ via Spotify, click here 

The Cosmics also headline a single launch gig at The Sunflower Lounge on the same night, with Thee MVPS, Paper Buoys, and Mutes also on the bill. For direct gig information, including venue details and links to online ticket sales, visit the Facebook event page – click here. 

For more on The Sunflower Lounge, including venue details and further event listings, visit


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BREVIEW: Semantics – Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17

Semantics – Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Review




Words by  Ed King / Pics Paul Reynolds

Due to a late cancellation at The Sunflower Lounge, we have two extra names on the bill tonight – with North Parade and My-Hi joining Hankks, Quinn and Semantics at the Actress & Bishop. Not bad for a fiver (neither is the new Semantic EP, Acid Test… but more on that later).

But time, tide and the Number 45 bus wait for no man, and with an excellent track record of poor time keeping I rock up to the A&B just in time to catch the last song from My-Hi. Nothing like a bit of head banging at 8:30pm on a Saturday; I even have the hair for it nowadays… where’s my snakebite?

My-Hi - supporting Semantics, Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham ReviewNext up is Quinn, the curious three piece fronted by the legendary Sam Lambeth. Quinn look like a fresher’s party at five in the morning,  but sound like Mega City Four – for those of you who will get the somewhat archaic reference – with languid melodies disguised by fast paced distortion and an unashamed rock outlook on life. But Lambeth is a superstar in the making, with absurd confidence, deft solos and the kind of charisma that you would sign in blood to possess.

He’s a great writer too (one I tried to bring onto these pages but was trounced by the perennial lure of London) and even as a front man with sparkles from head to toe, kind to his audience – dedicating a track to “super fan Zach Aston, I heard you lost your virginity last night so this one’s for Quinn - supporting Semantics, Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Reviewyou”. But sadly, truthfully, and with the softest of kit gloves, the rest of the band fall a tad short; practice, a metronome and possibly some solo material might not be a bad idea for a while. I hear London’s quite up and coming so Lambeth should be in luck. For everything else there’s always Amazon.

A case of mistaken identity later and I’m wrestling my cider back from Hankks’ drummer, before the polka dot fronted four piece take to the stage. An honest mistake, but I can be a shallow man when it comes to alcohol. Mercifully Hankks are solid as a rock, with a tight (albeit slightly detached) set of bouncing grunge rock with little to let it down. Little to really remember too, and once my more learned friend noticed “they sound like an early Green Day” that’s all I could hold in my head.  But keep on trucking lads; you got mustard in there.

Hankks - supporting Semantics, Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham ReviewThen the lights go down, the mood shifts, and the most well dressed (and amongst the loveliest) band in Birmingham take their place centre stage. With a new EP on the table, literally, Semantics kick off their headline set.

DISCLAIMER: Birmingham Review is lucky enough to get a fair number of bands and musicians reach out to us, but the one’s that do it with kindness and candor (and enough advance notice) stand a much better chance of getting covered. Take note – this probably applies beyond our pages too. But that doesn’t mean we will them write a good review. An honest review, yes, but you have to earn your gold stars.

Semantics – Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham ReviewJosh RB, Semantics‘ bass player, has been a joy to get to know – even bouncing over to give me a big hug and introduce their front man, Rob Lilley, whom I had not yet met (please don’t hug all our reviewers). So I’m nervous now. What if they’re shit. I am ruthless about honesty from the Birmingham Review contributors so should probably lead by example. A few minutes pass and I’m more nervous… seriously, what if they’re really shit.

Opening with an instrumental, Semantics sound is immediate; a brooding backdrop pierced by clear and dominating riffs (SECOND DISCLAIMER: I am not a musician). Then it’s the title track from the reason we’re here, as ‘Acid Test’ introduces the mournful lament of Rob Liley’s vocals – albeit somewhat let down by the sound desk – and the dark but beautiful box he wants our kisses wrapped up in.

‘A cut above’ is what I tap into Samsung Notes, before adding some nonsense about ‘sense and sensibility’ and spending the next 5 minutes looking for a glockenspiel.

But Semantics clearly know what they’re doing, as the set builds into a quite ferocious wall of sound (sorry, but the cliché is too appropriate not to use) adding layer upon glorious goth layer and dragging the audience into the stage with invisible fish hooks. I think, by now, I’m dancing, or an approximation of this. But the floor has to make room some as first Josh RB, then Bridie Green, step out into the crowd for a well controlled showcase. Semantics – Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Review

This is when I stop writing (or an approximation of this) – Semantics, here tonight, are just too fucking good. Its a show; a proper gig. And aside from the vocals being squashed into a cotton wool pancake (seriously sound desk…?) the audio is awesome, the delivery is near perfect, and the look is… well, working.

I wasn’t sure if the stylised nature of this band would stand up in a live setting, and I was worried that the spectre of Ian Curtis would be too much of a distraction, but Semantics own every inch of their set with confidence and grace.

And because I also ask our contributors to try and find a counterpoint – what I call the ‘velvet glove punch’ – I shall end an overwhelmingly positive review with a word of warning. In fact I’ll end with three: Joy, Division, careful.Semantics – Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Review

For more on Semantics, visit 

For more on Hankks, visit 

For more on Quinn, visit 

For more from Actress & Bishop, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit

For more from Birmingham Promoters, visit

BPREVIEW: Semantics – Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17

Words by Damien Russell

Striking in both sound and appearance, the Actress & Bishop welcome Semantics to its stage on 9th September 2017 – celebrating the release of their sophomore EP, Acid Test.

The event, brought to you by Birmingham Promoters, will run from 7.30pm through to 1.00am, with tickets priced at £6 plus the usual booking fees. For direct gig info, including online ticket sales, click here.

Semantics are supported by high octane indie/punk rockers Hankks, who are no strangers to the Actress & Bishop, and power pop band Quinn who remind me of a softer Smashing Pumpkins.

Starting with airplay on BBC WM Introducing, 2017 has been the year Semantics kicked things up a notch. Founded in 2014 and with their first recorded music release on the 1st July 2016, Semantics took a little time to prepare before taking the Birmingham music scene on fully, but since then they have been hitting it hard and keeping the pace high.

Their first EP, self titled, saw the first of their BBC WM Introducing spins, made it onto the Little Indie Blog track of the day and was crowned one of Scruff Of The Neck Records’ top five tracks of the week – all within two months.

Now before I go through any more of the year’s achievements, sound-wise Semantics are a fusion of 80’s synth-pop melodies and guitar led indie rock. Their music centers around the powerful vocals of Rob Lilley, and the simple, engaging melodies he creates.

Behind this sits a driving rhythm section that gives their songs a foot tapping, head nodding quality and a soaring guitar, heavily laden with echo (or delay, I can’t work out which) that adds a high melody to counterpoint Lilley’s vocal, bringing extra depth to their sound. Some bands work with each instrument in its place; some bands create a unified wall of sound. Semantics are the latter.

After a strong start in 2017, Semantics headed down south for their debut show in the capital before, in March, getting back into the studio for their second EP recording. In April they headlined the Into The Void Festival at the 6/8 Kafe before heading back down to London to The Finsbury Pub. The radio play and headline shows continued and while staying at a steady one-a-month kind of rate, there is a consistency to it that speaks to me of a steady but fierce rise.

Leading us to this… Semantics‘ second EP release show. Whether this will be promo, party or both is yet to be seen, but it’s a promising lineup and there’s only one way to find out; get yourself to the Actress & Bishop on Saturday 9th September. Click here for direct gig info and tickets, from Birmingham Promoters.

‘Acid Test’ – Semantics

For more on Semantics, visit

For more on Hankks, visit

For more on Quinn, visit

For more from Actress & Bishop, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit

For more from Birmingham Promoters, visit