Half Cousin: The Function Room

It is wonderful to discover that there is still an occasional romantic streak in music today. Half Cousin are not romantics in the sense of singing songs of unrequited (or even requited) love but rather have a sense of the things that are closest to our hearts.

Hailing from the Orkney Islands, Kevin Cormack is the heart of Half Cousin and his beautifully crafted paeans to things and people in his world are at once wistful and telling. Stories of Gilly & Lizzie, of Billy Redglove, of the sad and divine Mrs. Pilling and her relationship with the Pig Boy, tales from his heart and told with grace and charm. The songs are an eclectic mix of folky/jazzy/beats laden and often distorted but draw the listener in to the music, as if peering through a split in the curtain to see what is on the inside.

Musically the album is floppy – NOT Sloppy – with unusual instrumentation appearing almost at will but somehow squeezing perfectly in to the song structures; Cheesy clarinets, accordions and guitar are thrown into the mix along with short snatches of dinner jazz piano and softly spoken or sung vocals. There are gaps in the music and some of the soundscapes must have sounded better in the minds of the collective than in the studio but much of the charm of the album is to be found in its looseness and apparent willingness of its creators to put in their statements to be tested.

Half Cousin are truly original in their music and in their attitude to the industry and now, with The Function Room, they have produced an album that is probably one of the most significant and certainly one of the most essential records of the year.

Andy Heater
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Half Cousin
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