For fans of: Best Coast, Cage the Elephant, Beach Fossils
Here are three facts about New York trio Grand Cousin:
1. The Grand Cousin EP is the band’s debut record.
2. Lead singer/guitarist/songwriter Henry Hall’s mom is Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Seinfeld and Veep fame.
3. They just announced their break up.
Do not adjust your internets, folks. You read that correctly. These Wesleyan alums have pulled a Harper Lee, amiably calling it quits after one release. So pour one out for these homies and strap on them eargoggles, it’s time to dance along the blurry border of alt-pop and alt-rock with the Grand Cousin EP.
The five tracks that comprise the EP are thoroughly bright, twangy, and warm. Though the band labels themselves an alt-pop group, they rock hard with noodly guitar and bass bits and thunder-and-lightning drums. Surely, their pop classification comes from the band’s charming and appealing tone, but each track possesses a deeper musical and lyrical complexity. The album has the potential to be party music or a distraction-free listening event, but it is up to the listener to determine which it will be for them. Picture three college graduates with sweaters and books stepping out of a yellow NYC Taxi at Venice Beach and you have a visual representation of Grand Cousin’s sound.
Grand Cousin brings technique and substance to the highly saturated market of “that west coast sound.” Hall’s lyrics, sung in falsetto, inject thoughtfulness and—gasp—subtext into a genre whose wordsmithing is typically simplistic and even vapid at times. The trio leaves room in all of their tracks to show off their individual talents. Having a poppy groove suddenly bust out a solo or fill is something that we as listeners go too frequently without. Robert Caplan and Evan Low are a proper rhythm section who are in sync like a musical Vulcan mind meld, producing tight beats and bass that would make the Seinfeld theme composer proud.
Who knows? Maybe one day Grand Cousin will return to the alt-pop world to melt faces. The talent displayed on this EP confidently assures that they could come back strong after a premature ending…unlike other works of art and entertainment *cough* Arrested Development Season 4 *cough*.
4 out of 5