Famous for their surf-rock-meets-emo riffs and the cult status of their signature green hoodie, Prince Daddy & the Hyena have always been known as a ‘weed band’. Their latest album, however, tackles heavier substances. A concept record in three acts, Cosmic Thrill Seekers begins with the story of an acid trip before detailing the epiphany it brought on: the cyclical, seemingly inescapable nature of singer Kory Gregory’s mental health.

Heralded by Pitchfork as “a fuck-up’s masterpiece,” Cosmic Thrill Seekers is as adventurous as it is anxious. Using The Wizard of Oz as a metaphor for Gregory’s mental health as he now sees it, the record describes three distinct phases: The Heart, The Brain and The Roar, respectively illustrating the times when he feels generally healthy, anxious and manic. It’s a lot – the inner workings of the human mind are convoluted, and the band uses equally complicated instrumentals to pull us through the story. Holding it all together like bungee cords around a suitcase that won’t quite close are phrases repeated throughout all three acts; a vocal melody from one song becomes a riff in another, a particular rhythm is used time and time again. Put the record on repeat, and you’ll notice a strummed acoustic guitar leading you from the end of the last track straight back into the beginning, starting the cycle of music and mania anew.

It’s not just the metaphors drawn to movies and music that bought Cosmic Thrill Seekers its rabid fanbase, but something Prince Daddy & the Hyena have had all along – an emotional honesty so intense it almost hurts. Plenty of rock bands have written about the drugs they take for fun and for their health, but Act III’s ‘Klonopin’ still feels fresh as Gregory screams about the daily struggle of life on medication: when a chorus of “Nights I’m awake make my days feel like a gamble / Wander with me, and we’ll see what we can handle” leads into a verse about getting lost in his head in the bathroom, followed by a plea for someone to “get fucked up with me in the daytime” – the listener can practically feel the whiplash. 

With the sheer amount of detail put into the lyrics alone, it’s not hard to believe that Gregory has been working on Cosmic Thrill Seekers since 2015 when he took the fateful acid trip that inspired the concept. The lyrical content, however, is only half of what makes it a record for the ages – it’s the music that makes any album, and this one is no exception. The transitions between songs alone would have put Cosmic Thrill Seekers at the top of my list for the year; the only true breaks between songs are to separate the three Acts. Fans lost their minds on Twitter when the first two singles (also the first two tracks on the record) were connected, not knowing that they had been given just the smallest taste of what was yet to come. 

Cosmic Thrill Seekers is so much more than just an album – it’s a story, a backdrop to put on repeat behind your life and draw connections to until you’re convinced that Gregory pulled it straight from your head. It’s an invitation to the family, an offer to join the green hoodie cult. We’re all fuck-ups here, and this is our masterpiece.

  1. Prince Daddy & the Hyena – Cosmic Thrill Seekers
  2. Diva Sweetly – In The Living Room
  3. Insignificant Other – i’m so glad i feel this way about you
  4. Future Teens – Breakup Season
  5. Pkew Pkew Pkew – Optimal Lifestyles
  6. Origami Angel – Somewhere City
  7. PUP – Morbid Stuff
  8. Rosie Tucker – Never Not Never Not Never Not
  9. Mover Shaker – Another Truck Stop
  10. Foxy Dads – ICYMI