With the inflection and art song of Dave Matthews, comes Kid Cousin, with a surprise in their pocket unlike I’ve witnessed in years. I’d give a little more exposition, but let’s just cut to the chase. The first 3 minutes of Birth will make your brain start to assign assumptions and you might peg these guys as victims of acoustic dependence, leaning on the charm of well-crafted lyrics and true-to-the-heart vocals. And in that instance, you’re almost convinced there’s no more water in the well; you’ve seen the bottom of their musical depth and it was good. I, for one, was proven so pleasantly wrong.
This is a group of serious players not satisfied with molding into one genre or the other. They have a knack for power rock but it’s blended with alternative, singer/songwriter, indie, and pop. So, returning to my first impression, “The Trough.” The acoustic established a strong, poignant melody, the words poetic and rich. And then, the drums broke free as did the Earth, giving way for something bigger than you could imagine. The song erupted with instrumentation, subsequent melodies, key movement, layers, intensity and resolve. A blossoming experience to say the least.
Following this treat is “Trapdoor,” a driving track with exploratory and involved drums supporting focused and yet relaxed musical ideation. The guitar plays breezily on top of the ebb and flow urgency beneath. All the while, one has to appreciate the similar quality in vocal toward Dave Matthews. In this reflection, it’s just another great voice enhancing music that surrounds it like a close friend. This band gels at every turn and their spot on production brings that to the surface.
On “Swamp Thing” they take what could be a typical lesson in rock tension and add parts in 7/4 time while developing linear ideas to bridge the full time / half time relationship. In other words, the feels are varied, but each one serves the song in its own way. Sometimes their creativity is the stuff of magic and other times seems to step out of the box a little too far. Their skills are impressive, bottom line, so take that with a grain of salt. Birth is a rock renaissance that needs to be heard.
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