Are fuzz-pop five-piece Kosmetika Melbourne’s most mysterious band? 

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Are fuzz-pop five-piece Kosmetika Melbourne’s most mysterious band? 

Photo: Chelsea King
Words by Augustus Welby

New Zealand-via-Russia-via-Australia, these guys combine music influences from all across the world.

Turning heads this week are psych and krautrock-inspired act, Kosmetika, who have a more unusual backstory than most.

The band’s led by songwriters Veeka Nazarova – who was born in Khabarovsk in southeastern Russia – and Auckland’s Mike Ellis. The remaining three members hail from Perth, Deniliquin and Essendon, and the quintet assembled in Melbourne in 2018.

They’ve upheld a heavy gigging schedule over the last 18 months, which brought them to the attention of Roolette Records, the indie label home to the likes of Club Med, Pinch Points and culte. Roolette issued Kosmetika’s debut LP Pop Soap in November – just the third vinyl LP the label has released.

Kosmetika started making a noise online in early 2018 with the single ‘Ya Uedu’, a fuzzy indie rock number evocative of dappled sunlight and oversized flannel. The follow up, ‘Kraftneau’, didn’t come until September this year.

Rooted in a motorik groove and reverberating minor chords, it’s a work of layered intensity that feels at once seductive and deceptive. The band told Trouble Juice that they “kept layering more sounds over the initial recording until we felt we had a song”. The contrast between the two singles is a primer for the sly versatility that characterises the band’s debut LP.

Pop Soap features a mixture of Russian and English lyrics and sweeps from the ‘90s slacker pop of ‘Tiny Island’ to the Ellis-helmed ‘Spiller’, which sounds like Dandy Warhols in their pre-mainstream prime. Closing number, ‘Colouring’, stacks up a wall of guitar sound and smears everything in reverb. Though, this doesn’t sideline the band’s affinity for a catchy vocal melody.

Pop Soap might’ve only arrived in early November, but the eight-track LP is a legitimate contender in the local albums of the year stakes. Vaughan Quinn, presented of 3RRR’s Double Bounce, included ‘Kraftneau’ in his best of 2019 show, which indicates how quickly Kosmetika have grabbed the hearts of Melbourne’s music community.

Kosmetika are playing at the Jarrow & Mates Xmas Party III at the Gasometer Hotel on Wednesday December 18. Grab your tickets here. They’ll also play Nighthawks on Friday December 20 alongside local faves Baked Beans. Find out more here.

Get your hands on Pop Soap now via Roolette Records.