Cousin Tom is a musician from Australia who recently released SHED. Cousin Tom is a dude who happens to be eighteen-years old. Truth be told a lot of musicians that young don’t have a distinct style and the songwriting usually feels pretty influenced. Debate me if want but after listening to thousands of indie musicians that seems to be the case. It’s not someone that young can’t be a musician is but it usually takes not only years of practice to become a decent songwriter but I think a good amount of life experience is necessary as well.
Cousin Tom seems to be at least a few years ahead of his time. The songs are emotionally resonant and the songwriting is quite good. There is no way you can talk about his music and not mention his unique voice. Cousin Tom sings in a very deep voice. Now I don’t know how exaggerated this is. It sounds good and I really enjoyed the distinct style. My one minor gripe is I could barely make out a word he was saying. Some of this is in part to the lo-fi production and some of it lays in the delivery.
Up first is “Straight Jacket” which is a piano led tune. His vocals are especially deep on this song. The song starts off sparse but opens up rather quickly only to come back down. He doubles up the vocal which wasn’t always necessary. Overall, the opener works well.
“Plague” revolves around the guitar and this song has a Pink Floyd vibe at times. There is some subdued melancholy on this song which works well with his voice. This is another solid song. “North Song” is more upbeat and straight up catchy. I was really diggin' the diversity.
The centerpiece is arguably “Regressing.” It’s a dynamic five-plus minute song that feels ambitious and heartfelt. As the album progressed I really enjoyed the Johnny Cash-esque “It's Bleeding In My Mouth” and the mellow and atmospheric “The Line.”
SHED is not perfect but this young songwriter has got the goods. I can only imagine as he continues to evolve his future projects will be even more impressive.
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