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Cousteau

Cousteau

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Album Review

Cousteau's debut full-length is almost a victory of style over substance. Unfortunately, many of the songs and arrangements fall a bit flat. The late-'60s work of Scott Walker is clearly the biggest influence of the band. While Davey Ray Moor and compatriots do get the atmosphere right, some of the songs simply flutter apart before they get going. It's not that the songs aren't good; it's more that they are a tad too obvious in their charms. "(Shades Of) Ruinous Blue," for example, displays the chamber pop joys of Walker, but the chorus comes too soon and too often to provide much of a payoff. Certain songs do take flight and provide great entertainment, in particular "The Last Good Day of the Year and "One Good Reason." "One Good Reason" even sounds like it was crafted back in the early days of Scott Walker's career; that was probably the intention when the song's sonics were manufactured in the studio. There's really not much reason to pay attention to this album if a listener hasn't already completed their Scott Walker collection. Even then, there's a multitude of artists, including Tindersticks and the Divine Comedy who use Walker as a point of departure, rather than a blueprint. In the current world of pop/rock, it takes more than mimicry of one's peers and influences to make a compelling album. Still, this self-titled album is a promising debut from Cousteau; it suggests that the band, with better arrangements and more original songs, might be capable of scaling greater heights.

Biography

Formed: 1998 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Cousteau debuted in 1999 with a self-released, eponymous effort showcasing their chocolate-smooth mix of Bacharach-style songwriting with modernist flourishes of groove and electronics. The brainchild of veteran songwriter and piano man Davey Ray Moor, Cousteau also included lead vocalist Liam McKahey, guitarist Robin Brown, bassist Joe Peet (who also contributed violin), and drummer Craig Vear. The debut made quite a stir in the band's London home base, and soon the independent effort was picked...
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Cousteau, Cousteau
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