Out of the pandemic another engaging moment has emerged and it goes by the name of the Left EP. Though Covid has confined all like a straightjacket, creativity and adventure has thrived in many quarters as in the case of Cousin Betty and a debut release which simply compels attention.
Cousin Betty is the idea and inspiration of guitarist and songwriter Damien Stofka who has played in the likes of Molten Universe, Death Mattel, LITTER and various other projects for the last 15 years. With its name sparked by an old-English term used to demark a hysterical woman, the project emerged when Stofka began communicating with other artists and subsequently, as restrictions allowed, he joined vocalist Matt Downey and his partner Katie Jane to record a clutch of songs. Taking influence from the Desert Sessions and psych/desert rock sounds, the tracks grew and found their own character which as proven by the Left EP leaves little for ears and attention to ignore.
With distortion a fresh breath within the band’s sound also, the EP opens up with Tape Hiss and its eager reflection on eighties sounds and their spooled presentation. Riffs nag as vocals look back with longing, rhythms jabbing with tenacity before it all erupts up in a fiery eruption. The cycle repeats with a keener bite, the contagion fuelling it all burrowing deeper still as the track finds a pop rock virulence to match many of the names it reminisces on.
It is a rousing start to the release firmly backed up by the following Drone. The second song beckons with a grungy riff, a lure soon embroiled in a distortion bearing sonic cloud as again rhythms land with imposing attitude. Psychedelic hues subsequently merge with vocal dynamics and melodic enterprise as the track becomes a sweltering blaze and a captivation also soaked in eager infectiousness.
The instrumental of next up Lazy Bones draws ears and imagination into a sweltering landscape and melodic suggestion. Its swing is calm to the verge of torpid, like a body idling in hammock bedded movement under a sultry sky but irresistible just as the intimation brewed proved to be for the imagination.
Favourite track choice was taken by Loan Sharks next, the heavy post punk drawl of the bass alone enough to hook us in. The passions were only further ignited by the song’s invigorating fusion of noise and alt rock drama and the subsequent psychosis which took the track to a glorious bedlamic finale.
AWOL completes the release, the track a feral almost caustic slice of rock ‘n’ roll which as those before it had little problem manipulating movement and uproar for its enterprising tempest. With compelling discord and melodic toxicity, the song sizzled on the senses managing to be just as alluringly radiant at the same time.
It is a fine end to a highly enjoyable debut from Cousin Betty. There is a definite Queens Of The Stone Age breath to the release at certain moments but the individuality of personality and sound from Stofka and co subdues all.
The Left EP is out March 26th via Golden Robot Records.
Pete RingMaster 25/03/2021
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