Cosmonauts’ Persona Non Grata is a welcome addition to the drone pop/psych catalog, partly due to the fact that it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the lot. Yes, it happens to have deadpan vocals and repetition and simplicity. But it’s a little too focused and a little too punk to be able to simply say “check this out if you like Velvet Underground.”
You can say “check this out if you like bass that’s more weight than funk and drums that have enough stomp and pulse to be more mechanical than electronic.” The record isn’t predictable, but there’s a tendency for the songs to go like this: some sort of deceptively gentlemanly opening holds the door for a rhythm section that would have kicked it in anyway. “Shaker,” “What Me Worry,” and “Dirty Harry” are as immediate/accessible as it gets, but if you’re a lyrics guy, don’t miss “Pure Posture.” And if you listen to it start-to-finish, “My Alba” tends to be the deciding track; depending on your tastes, it makes you feel certain that this is either a great album or a totally disposable album (which, in a way, proves that it’s great).
Regardless of whether or not you think it sounds good or important, the interesting thing about Persona Non Grata is how two-faced (in a good way) it plays. “Wear Your Hair Like a Weapon” is the condensed/obvious example of this. But more generally, it turns out that with Persona Non Grata, giving a huge fuck sounds a lot like giving no fuck.