7 Songs, 26 Minutes


About Half Cousin

Kevin Cormack and Jimmy Hogarth’s initial attempts at music-making were apparently intended to circumvent the over-bearing impact that bands such as Deep Purple, Rainbow and Iron Maiden had had on their fellow inhabitants of the Orkneys Islands in Scotland. Rather, the duo (subsequently augmented by two members of Joe Strummer’s Mescelaros, for live happenings) forged ‘short melodic songs from junk’, decorating guitar and piano parts with recycled and discarded objects and instruments, an inventory that apparently included coat-hangers, bicycle horns and a bin. As befits their home location, eight miles or so off the Scottish coast in the North Sea, Half Cousin sound windswept and ramshackle, their gently plucked guitars, wheezing accordions, dilapidated wind instruments and broken percussion sounding as if elegiac to the ancient standing stones that decorate their island and the old shipwrecks that litter its coast line (or as iDJ magazine surmised, less poetically, ‘like a one man band falling up the stairs with a bit of radio interference in the background’). The duo’s music draws comparison with compatriots such as the Beta Band, the Fence Collective and Mull Historical Society as well as the likes of Tom Waits. ‘Mrs Pilling’, a semi-spoken word tale about a woman who befriends a ‘pig boy’ included on their 2004 debut The Function Room, was notably inspired by Janet Frame’s autobiography An Angel At My Table.