Divided into three acts, Prince Daddy & The Hyena’s ‘Cosmic Thrill Seekers’ is an energetic journey into making peace with anxiety and existential dread.
Outer-space is an infinite vacuum filled with emptiness and the unknown. If you stop to think about it long enough, there’s a good chance you’ll end up staring at a bathroom wall thinking “What does it all mean? What’s the point?” In an outer-space allegory for Wizard of Oz, Albany’s Prince Daddy & The Hyena provide a reprieve from this dread in their ambitious and raucous Cosmic Thrill Seekers (out June 28, 2019).
Following on from 2016’s I Thought You Didn’t Even Like Leaving, Prince Daddy & The Hyena were tasked with a record that ended up being a sleeper favorite filled with fun tracks. While little from Leaving stuck as well as Seekers does, the record is certainly a little more accessible to a pop-punk leaning audience. Frontman Kory Gregory is a little bit lower in the mix on Cosmic Thrill Seekers and he doesn’t enunciate as well, making it less ideal for giant sing-alongs. Still, Cosmic Thrill Seekers takes the best aspects of I Thought You Didn’t Even Like Leaving and ramps up the power pop and classic rock worship. Like their peers in Rozwell Kid, Prince Daddy & The Hyena show the strength of fuzzy guitars playing crispy, interesting riffs throughout.
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The album is divided into three acts, but the true core feel of the album can be found in the first track of the second act, “Slip.” Gregory sings:
A hole in my head
And it’s infinitely black
Pulling me in
With no way to fight back
So I get to know him pretty well
Think he knows me too
This is a record about making peace with anxiety and existential dread, even if it’s presented with Gregory’s throaty yelp and gigantic power-pop riffs. A record of this magnitude could easily be a somber acoustic or post-rock meditation, but with candid lyricism and classic rock scorching instrumentals, Prince Daddy & The Hyena take their listeners on a, well, cosmic thrill seeking adventure. This is a rock opera of Meat Loaf proportions. Whether it’s the piano-driven, palm-muted opener, “I Lost My Life” or the punky “C’mon & Smoke Me Up,” Prince Daddy & The Hyena don’t let the listener get comfortable in one sound for long before throwing in a piano breakdown or a chaotic, horn-driven outro. Prince Daddy & The Hyena have provided a perfect album for people that have short attention spans and love an album that is unafraid to make hard turns in the best way.
Gregory’s lyrics are both epic and casual. He can bounce from a hungover dining hall recollection of a party to a space opera, which doesn’t feel out of place alongside dramatic stanzas in “Ursula Merger.”
Someone get fucked up,
With me in the daytime
Time is fucking stuck
And laughing at me and my
Stupid fucking life
– “Klonopin,” Prince Daddy & The Hyena
I’ve been wandering on the weaker parts
Of Earth’s floor
And every step I take, feel it cave in a bit more
Well, maybe it’s time
The planets decide who’s right
And who lives and dies
– “Ursula Merger,” Prince Daddy & The Hyena
Gregory’s voice is similarly versatile but is also an acquired taste. He has a lot of grit, which may deter some as Craig Finn’s or Jordan Dreyer’s voices may, but once you’ve invested in it, you’re sold. You also start to realize that he can go from straightforward barking to a nice falsetto.
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Cosmic Thrill Seekers is an album that flexes both ambition and ability. As both an emo-leaning punk record and a space-fantasy rock opera, it showcases the best aspects of every genre it encompasses. Prince Daddy & The Hyena are easily setting themselves up to be major players in punk and emo’s next big wave. Cosmic Thrill Seekers is a career-defining album, and it’s only their second.
Stream Prince Daddy & The Hyena’s sophomore album upon its release Friday, June 28, 2019!
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