Cousins’ Halls of Wickwire is full of noisy, blustery guitar pop featuring boy/girl vocals singing songs ostensibly about love, life and family, however with all the distortion, elephantine low end and cavernous drums, it can be a bit difficult to discern exactly which sentiments are being so melodically expressed. What is not in question, however, is that Cousins (Leigh Dotey and Aaron Mangle) has an impeccable knack for a good melody and musical chemistry perfectly suited to the type of glorious racket they manage to create between just the two of them.
Unlike some other guitar/drum duos, Cousins manages to eschew the blues completely in favor of big pop hooks and fuzzed-out vocals intertwining to deliver plaintive melodies well-versed in the history of rock music. “Ocean” employs a jangling piano to accompany its galloping drums, surging guitars and a soaring vocal melody with a hook large enough to snag a whale, while “At Odds” establishes a new ideal in the loud/soft school of songwriting. All in all, this is a solid rock album and an entertaining listen from top to bottom with, thanks to the claustrophobic instrumentation and relatively lo-fi production, no room for filler.