Sputnik I, Cosmonaut

Ever since the Flaming Lips played in the Peach Pit on Beverly Hills 90210, more knowledgeable television shows have been able to pick up and coming bands to increase their own credibility and also help boost the band’s exposure too. Hence the Shins appearing on The Gilmore Girls and almost every band turning up on The O.C. It should have worked for Cleveland band Sputnik too, but they ended up being approached by the wrong Fox show. Instead of guaranteed credibility on The O.C., they had a song selected to appear on Wonderfalls, which, despite being a far superior show, was cancelled after a mere four episodes. Naturally, the episode featuring their song "Alienne” didn’t air. That’s a real shame because I, Cosmonaut is a collection of jangly indie-pop songs that deserve a wider audience. With a sound that finds a comfortable niche somewhere between Cake and the Wedding Present, it becomes clear that the 20 years or so that the band members have spent involved in other projects (including Jehova Waitresses) pays off. Even a cover of the theme from The Mary Tyler Moore Show doesn’t feel like a wilful attempt at a novelty cover version. Plus Wonderfalls, complete with the Sputnik episode, has just been released on DVD — things are looking up. (Sound of the Sea)