Cousin Dud – of Hats and Unicorns

Generally I don’t advocate harassing members of the press to write about your stuff.  Professional or amateur, it’s generally just annoying and, far from getting you that review you’re looking for, tends to just make it more likely they’ll not read another email you send them.  Sometimes, of course, just sometimes, it turns out to be entirely worthwhile.

Cousin Dud emailed me twice about this EP.  Or they did and then someone helping them with PR did.  Or something like that.  Whatever happened, I remember receiving one email, listening to it, deciding I wasn’t too into it and moving on.  Then the next one came in a couple of weeks later and instead of having a little tiny bloggy huff, I left it playing while I got on with whatever I was doing and, for whatever reason, found myself really enjoying it this time around.  Don’t ask, I have no idea.

It’s simple enough stuff: acoustic pop, with a rattle of drums and a definite flavour of what I would call Americana, without really knowing what Americana is. It’s in the raspy, slightly rock ‘n’ rolly voice, I think, and the rhythms of the songs themselves, which echo the alt-country bands who seemed to be all over the place about five or ten years ago.

So for something which is in essence nothing to make you sit up and take notice (probably why I overlooked it the first time), what is it about this that made me realise I was wrong and that it is actually a really good EP?  I am honestly not all that sure I can tell you, but there’s something in the incredibly simple arrangements and the plain vanilla recording which I find myself warming to.  Primarily though, it’s that this music has the same quality which made the Americana bands I mentioned before so special: it just generates natural empathy and affection.

There’s something in the unassuming vocal delivery that makes you feel like you’d get on well with the singer, and that the stories you are hearing mean something to him, and therefore should mean something to you, not because he is telling you they should but because you have chosen that they should.

It’s kind of the same with the rest of the band, too.  Drummers can be an attention-seeking bunch, but here the rhythm is functional and unintrusive.  It’s as if the drummer, much like the rest of the band, is happy to let the song get on with its business rather than smothering it in their musickyness, and just adds to the overall impression of a humble, unobtrusive record of good songs, played well, with no bells and whistles, content simply to be good and not spend the whole time shouting for attention.

It’s probably why I missed this the first time around, and why I am glad I corrected my mistake.

Cousin Dud – In the Fair
[audio:http://songbytoad.com/tunes/CousinDud-IntheFair.mp3]

Free EP download from Bandcamp.

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