Cousins? They get it.
This emergent Chicago/Milwaukee four-piece get that to build a true state of hypnosis takes patience--that sometimes a single chord, if propelled correctly, can fill more space than a whole hook. The opening whallop of a track "a" demonstrates a spectacular sense of pacing as it turns on its axis, building a full and spacious revolving drone. Two gently chanted lines fall in the background as a new animal swells. A quick look at Cousins' lyrics page reveals that they're based on a Eugene O'Neill play. In fact, the lyrics to each song are prefaced by a literary quote of some variety--some longer than the lyrics themselves. These intellectually-sourced snippets of text could stand alone as prose poems, but somehow work even better draped in echoes beyond recognition, discovered only when the work of investigating them is done.
Anyone who's listened to early '90s shoegaze and no-wave will recognize the shapes of those echoes. Cousins sources textures from recognizable places--the Sonic Youth, Slint, Slowdive roster, with an offhand Dinosaur Jr. vocal delivery thrown in for good measure. But they aren't here to reminisce. They've come to reassemble those artifacts with enough brains and brawn to make them their own.
The Axthoxy EP emerges as an exciting debut from a new band who understands how to play within their genre from the start. I can't wait to see how they'll evolve their sources.