Bentcousin – Everybody’s Got One EP

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Twin siblings Amelia and Pat Innit are bentcousin, a London-based duo who have released their debut EP, Everybody’s Got One, on Conor Oberst’s Team Love Records. Okay, they have some songs and a hip label to shop them, so one would think, not a bad place to start for such a young group. Right?

Right.

The EP begins with “bentpaperboy,” a gentle singsong sort of track that is oddly reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy),” mixed with a B-side to a Belle and Sebastian single. Amelia’s vocals are covered with a sweetness that draws the listeners in, but, concurrently, the lyrical content repeals us and pushes us away. With lines like “I like the cut of her gib / I like the cut of her soul / I like the cut of her underwear,” Amelia has undermined the flirty feel inherent in the composition. Does anyone outside of a retired Navy recruiter use the nautically inclined term,“gib”? In the next line, Amelia rhymes “hobby” with “origami,” further adding to the listener’s frustration. In all actuality, it’s not that bad of a track, but it’s too brief, and it abruptly ends without completing the bentpaperboy’s journey.

Pat takes over the vocals on “Slade,” a track that sounds too similar to Sugar’s “If I Can’t Change Your Mind.” While Pat is more energetic and sped up, it’s probably best to leave the vocal duties to big sis, even though her backup, ill-produced “la-la-la’s” that pop up on “Slade” do nothing to help this argument. The same clumsy la-la-la’s show up later on the uninspired “Glittery Joe.”

“I Quit You” has Amelia and Pat stuck in a give-and-take vocal battle sung over a Sleater-Kinney drumbeat. Amelia presents more awkward, high school notebook lyrics: “You said my eyes were average / You talked about your ex in bed / You started taking me for a fool / And that’s not cool.” Ho-hum. I did enjoy the handclaps on the track, though. I’m a sucker for handclaps.

“F.O.R.G.E.T.” is a Pat-led piece that does its best impersonation of the Bay City Rollers. Once again, it’s best to get Pat away from the microphone. His attempt to sing “reason” with three syllables at the one-minute mark is proof of Pat’s vocal inabilities. This is one I would like to f.o.r.g.e.t.

The EP ends on a strong note. “I Think I Like Your Girlfriend More Than You” is a fun two minute, eighteen second romp that reads like a 1960s-sounding lounge single. Amelia’s voice is convincing and attractive; she brings life to the goofy lyrics. Her English accent sells the sweetness of her sentiment. Take Pat’s indecipherable singing off of the last twenty-four seconds and this could be a hit. Sorry, Pat. I think I like your sister’s singing more than yours.

Something tells me that bentcousin’s songs sounded better in their heads than they do on the EP. There are some highlights that shed some hope on the band’s future. Nevertheless, if bentcousin wants to be successful, Amelia must take sole control of the vocals, any and all backing vocals must be mixed better and the lyrical content needs to improve. Sometimes being too coy and too cute can be extremely annoying and abrasive. The twins have a chance, but they might just need to be separated to have any measurable success outside of London pubs.

Please check out bentcousin’s recent Daytrotter session: http://tinyurl.com/b536zqm

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February 20, 2013. Tags: , , . Albums.

One Comment

  1. Not Bound To Follow Suit replied:

    Pat’s back-up vocals sound better on “I Quit You” than the give and take exchanges. Reminiscent of Velocity Girl in that regard.

    Perhaps his lead vocals are better suited for rockabilly?

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