In a blog post examining the Wallace Stevens poem “Of Mere Being” (which provided Cousins the title for their second album, The Palm At The End Of The Mind), a writer named Zireaux posits that “Discovery is not about finding a new and distant truth. It’s about reporting back.” It’s an apt segue into this new Cousins record: the Halifax duo is through questing after that elusive Palm; they’re ready to settle back into reality.
Reality for singer/guitarist Aaron Mangle was reportedly an ill and elderly family member, whose decline informs much of the album’s lyrics. We’re provided the occasional metaphor, here, but The Halls Of Wickwire primarily deals in correlated absolutes: “No one should be alone;” “It’s my body;” “I am the Death Man.”
Wickwire isn’t a total downer, but there’s clearly a heavier mood hovering over these tunes than we saw on Palm. There’s definite growth in technical proficiency, too; Cousins sound more confident than ever—like an aural version of the old ‘unstoppable force meets an immovable object’ paradigm. Check them out in the boxing ring, in “Body,” down below.