Volta Sounds - 2003 - 33 minutes

There was a time when people were smashing their guitars and picking up decks and computers. A musical peace process followed, with indie noodlers and digital geeks hooking up to produce tunes with feet in both camps. Jape is the latest local project to try to build this bridge, but Richie Egan ends up falling between two stools instead.

Egan already has a high profile from his work in high-brow metallers The Redneck Manifesto and as part of David Kitt's backing band. His solo effort is admirable for its wide range of styles, but the quality control slips too often for it to be truly satisfying.

The opening title track takes a mellow blip'n'click background and adds some soporofic strumming. It's far too predictable to make any real impact, just floating past and disappearing from memory straight away. When he sticks to standard indie laments, Egan is on much surer ground. 'Wishful Thinking' is a lovely duet, but the quality of the female vocalist just serves to highlight the weakness of Egan's own voice.

'Haunt Me' is too predictable and ploddy to haunt anyone and the fat organ sample that kicks off Nilsson is woefully ill-served by the rest of the track. And what's this on 'I Don't Know'? Surely not the dreaded "robotic voice" Vocoder? Run away, run away.

'All Your Friends' is much better, a catchy number with a chunky electronic percussion adornment that actually works with the acoustic guitar and harmonica as opposed to working against it while closing track 'When You've Lost All Your Looks' is pointed and bitter enough to be a Morrissey b-side.

Egan is not a convincing electronic producer, and doesn't haven't the voice to be a singer-songwriter either, so it's no surprise that Cosmosphere fails to take off. The Redneck Manifesto is surely where he belongs. Isn't one good band enough for a man these days?

Luke McManus

Tracklisting: Cosmosphere - Into Lines - Wishful Thinking - Haunt Me - Nilsson - I Don't Know - All Your Friends - When You've Lost All Your Looks