Out On Town (Youth Club)
Canadian East Coast bands have always done “lo-fi” well, and Cousins’ debut album is no exception. Singer/guitarist Aaron Mangle writes the sparse, folkie tunes, which benefit from his doubled falsetto vocals and his penchant for repetition, laid-back tempos and well-placed crunchy guitars. Opening track Anxious sticks in your head long after the album ends, and Growling approaches Bon Iver-level fragility.
Apparently, Cousins is now a raucous four-piece, but here it’s simply Mangle playing everything. He’s got a knack for Chad VanGaalenish melodies – high and haunting – and repeats key lyrics in an entrancing way. Sometimes the execution is messy – Three Years Old’s rhythmically angular verses are ambitious for his skill set – and a few tunes meander. But with so much heart on display, that’s easily forgiven.
Top track: Anxious