Album Review: Cousin – Music To Polish Your Rifle To


The more knowledgeable lovers of UK music will hopefully know this but, for you unfortunate others, it is worth pointing out that 2014 was a tremendous year for British post-rock and math-rock. Brontide, Talons, Alpha Male Tea Party, Axes and Cleft all put out very strong records, and ArcTanGent’s sophomore success has all but confirmed it as the UK’s, nay, Europe’s must-attend festival for aficionado of the genre. Secondly, Brighton has gradually been establishing itself as the most vibrant scene for british alternative music for a little while now. What does one get when Brightonites take on post-rock then? One gets Cousin.

If you were to place Cousin on the post-rock spectrum, you’d have to say they have less in common with the dark, brooding textures of ’New Topograhics’-era Talons, and a lot more with the fun-loving hyper-dynamic songwriting of an Alpha Male Tea Party or Axes, perhaps striking some sort of middle ground between that and Brontide more measured and methodical approach. What I’m trying to get at is that Cousin’s compositions give off a strong sense of creative untetheredness whereas their execution suggests diligent mastery and control.

On their recently released EP ’Music To Polish Your Rifle To’, never is that balance struck better than on opening track ’Dry Steering On A Wet Road. Now they never quite reach the sort of pace Axes or AMTP strive for, that doesn’t seem to be the intention here. Instead, they indulge in rhythmic decrescendos, off-kilter semi-arpeggios, and some rather cool drumming. ’Which Schnitzel’ works with some unusual, yet undoubtedly catchy, licks. ’Oversized Haulage’ occasionally flirts with sludge-y slowness before wrenching themselves out of the mud to sprint their way into techy riffs, yet they’re also able to ace the gentler sections.

All in all. Cousin appear to have all the tools at their disposal to become one of those “jack-of-all-trades” post-rock outfits, comfortable with whatever they intend to throw at the listener. Their new EP won’t set the world alight, but I struggle to find any obvious flaws to their game. For post-rock completionists above all else.

3/5

’Music To Polish Your Rifle To’ by Cousin is out now on Fucking The Night Records and Barely Regal Records

Cousin links: Facebook|Soundcloud|Bandcamp

Words by James Berclaz-Lewis (@bearclawlewis)

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