The DIY pop punk band, Prince Daddy & the Hyena, are back with their second album Cosmic Thrill Seekers. After a bad acid trip, Prince Daddy frontman Kory Gregory saw parallels between his mental health and The Wizard of Oz. Cosmic Thrill Seekers is a deeply personal account of the cyclical nature of Gregory’s mental health split into three acts: the heart, the brain and the roar (the tin man, the scarecrow and the lion). For those that find themselves stuck in the peaks and troughs of mental health issues, this album offers escapism in a way that reminds them that they are not alone.

In comparison to their 2016 debut I Thought You Didn’t Even Like Leaving, the production value shows a clear improvement. While their first album wore its DIY roots on its sleeves, Cosmic Thrill Seekers features many interesting mixing choices that make the record more of a concept album than a garage punk record. The instrument variety as well as the vocal mixing provides a robust soundstage that outshines their debut. Acoustic and clean electric guitar riffs bring a serene feeling at times throughout the album in contrast to the hard fuzzy riffs that dominate the tracks. The track Cosmic Thrill Seeking Forever is a fantastic example of the album as a whole. It features soft lyrics harmonised as well as Gregory’s signature wailing, coupled with distorted rhythms on guitar that make way for crisp clean Brian May-esque guitar solos.

The most immediately striking element of the album is frontman Kory Gregory’s vocals. Having written the album himself in the fallout of a bad acid trip, his raspy screams have a hauntingly personal quality to them. His wails will certainly appeal to those who miss the days of emo music from the mid 2000s. What’s even more striking about Gregory’s vocals is his genuinely strong voice that breaks through during softer moments of the album. Cosmic Thrill Seekers is a defining album for Gregory’s abilities. The mixing in particular showcases his varied vocal range, at times overlaying his upbeat singing with terrifying screams.

Cosmic Thrill Seekers is more than a pop punk album. Prince Daddy & the Hyena have evolved beyond their garage rock roots and in only their second album have produced a record they will be remembered for forever. Any pop punk fan will love this, as will those who listen to emo music, and for those who have experienced mental health issues themselves, they may get even more from this album. Prince Daddy have produced something special.