On their latest offering, A Palm At The End Of The Mind, Halifax trio (and sometimes duo) Cousins keep it as raw as their brand of off-kilter indie garage rock can get.
Recorded and produced mainly themselves, with the exception of a couple tracks, the songs on A Palm range from the punk-tinged drive of “Speech” to the slow-tempo, wistful “Thunder” to the straight-ahead blues rock of the album’s opener, “Jules”.
Though the album delivers an eclectic and quirky array of rhythms and emotions, they are all brought together by Aaron Mangle’s fragile, echo-drenched falsetto and his tasteful yet understated drumming, and the fuzzed-out, chunky chords that, at times, channel Chad Van Gaalen, and other times, Jack White.
A Palm At The End Of The Mind sees Cousins at their best on tracks like “Speech”, where the band is in complete control of the rollercoaster. Coming in like a slap in the face at about the 12-second mark, “Speech” sees the band take it from a full-on garage punk assault to a controlled and subdued breakdown, and back up again as Mangle’s spaced-out warble tries to cut through the fuzz.
“Secret Weapon”, another of the album’s standouts, sees Mangle declaring he’s “Come prepared for the long night” to a slightly syncopated backbeat and a simple, jangly riff that makes for sweet, toe-tapping pop goodness.
With their DYI approach, Cousins achieves the epitome of lo-fi production, almost to the point where Mangle’s vocals are washed out beyond comprehension at times. However, the appeal lies in the contrast between Mangle’s soft, almost timid delivery and the dirt and crunch of the guitars and drums, making for one of the better indie pop garage rock albums yet this year.
To preview and buy A Palm At The End Of The Mind (only $10!), check out their BandCamp page and Facebook. The band’s also playing at Calgary’s Sled Island festival this year (June 20-23), so check out the band’s performance schedule, tell your friends, and get out to see them.
For a taste of Cousins, listen to “Jules“: