Belief blooms in every word Cosial sings as her wandering thoughts flutter into life in tightly-written, irresistible meditations on the passing truths that appear before her. Feeling her way out of her Hartlepool home, the teenage singer-songwriter takes gentle, instantly relatable steps towards understanding why some things fit, others don’t and puts the feeling of watching life happen to other people into song on her unmissable, debut EP: SPORTS.
A gossamer tangle of thoughts, Cosial’s musical references back to leading influences such as Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers and Clairo are spliced with the rough sketches of life on the final bend of youth. So melodically gifted as to sound effortless, the artist’s first five tracks to be released express the simply complicated things that make early adulthood as profoundly confusing as it is often mundane, thrilling, bleak and comically absurd.
With the majority of the songs recorded in her drummer’s garage in the North East of England, whilst Cosial currently takes up residence in Manchester, the SPORTS EP’s tales of reality, fiction and somewhere in between emerge. Acutely observed lyrics gently patter over the surface of guitar and piano-led cotton-wool clouds of melody.
Cosial introduces her first EP by saying: “It’s called Sports as the main theme throughout the EP is constantly feeling like you’re second place, ‘on the bench’, and just watching everything happen around you.”
Perhaps the EP’s marquee song and leading from the top of the playlist, Pool Chalk deals with the notion of left-behind toxic relationships, simmering with scything honesty yet diluted in the sweet, running waters of chiming guitars and Cosial’s journalling vocal delivery. The driving beat of Michael’s Song puts a fictional character on the pitch to play the foil in a game of jealousy, the lyrics sketching out a scenario in which, as Cosial puts it: “You end up fixating so much on one person, that you end up forgetting about yourself entirely.”
At 19-years-old Cosial has hit on some essential, incisive and insightful truths far earlier in life than than most. On the painfully intimate Today, the all-too-common phenomena of one-sided love is explained with occasionally, darkly wry storybook simplicity and Mud, Cosial’s favourite song on the EP, delicately pieces together a jigsaw of complex emotional ties, where strange and unhealthy dependence masquerades as love.
Signing off with understated style, the band drops away for Pity Drink and the Sports EP slips gently away with Cosial accompanied with little more than piano. Purposely intimate to neon-highlight a flickering, soul-baring intensity, she says of the low-lit finale: “It’s about comparing yourself to someone else, and just wishing you could be ‘that person’ that stops a room as soon as they walk in, and feeling like that comparison consumes your life: ‘If I’m not competing then I am not anything’.”