Founders of the FAMLY collective and co-producing duo Cousn deliver their debut album in October on Irvine Welsh’s new label, Jack Said What. The ten-track LP showcases a myriad of solo and collaborative creationswith rapper Surya Sen amongst other rising stars, resulting in a multi-dynamic body of work.Cousn describe the roots of their project and the collaborative process behind the album. “Being actual cousins, we first met each other as tiny babies. But it wasn’t until we formed Cousn at age 16 that we started this mad journey together.Since then, through our FAMLY Connection collective, we’ve built up a large number of like-minded artists from all walks of life who we can now call our FAMLY. We all work in music, art, videos and events, and our album sets out to showcase not only us as Cousn but also our extremely talented collective.”
They introduce us to other artists who appear on the album. “With Tom Williams on the drums, features from Surya Sen, Scott Booth, Luca Manning and The Fluffy Teddy Bear, artwork and videos from Harry Coke, Hector Bell, Jenn Leung and Marco Bardusco-Brazier and remixes directly from the FAMLY Connection group. FAMLY Jewels was inspired by ourdetermination for the Cousn sound not to be pigeonholed but to enjoy working with the people we love and setting out to be uniquely ourselves. We’re really excited to share what has been an album that’s been years in the making, but now feels like just the start of an ongoing journey together.”
The album opens with Almost Famous, an electronica-meets-spoken-word mutation. The velvety vocals of North London rapper Surya Sen merge with a robust bassline and crisp percussion, building a bouncy soundscape that provokes serious head-bop action.
Cousn provide their first solo track of the album with Today Is Yours, setting a spirited mood. An uplifting melody winds between and a powerful female vocal who demands, “come back, come back to yourself.” It brims with fearless energy, perfect for an ecstatic dancefloor.Fluffy Teddy Bear conveys a trippy atmosphere to close our eyes and languish. Pitched-down vocals burble alongside futuristic-feeling synth notes, simmering with a surreal tint, leaving us to interpret the unusual lyrics in our own way.
Despite its name, Final Phase is not the album’s closing tune. Chopped-up vocals collide with clicky percussion, forming a sense of urgency. It’s a pacey number, giving us an insight into Cousn’s more brooding sound palette.
Get Some Sleep follows suit, dominated by a ghostly female vocal. Wind chime-like percussion and low-key kick drums rumble, allowing the lyrics to anchor the mood. It conveys a melancholic vibe as if providing a moment to reflect before we fall down the rabbit hole of Hold Me Closer feat. Luca Manning. This time, Cousn work the mellow vocals of Glaswegian artist Luca Manning into a shimmering pool of upbeat rhythms and bright chords. A gorgeous collaborationbetween Cousn and the Roundhouse resident.
The most club-driven track is Big Fat Acid feat. Surya Sen. Thick beats collide with Sen’s spoken word, sparking a wavey ambience with a touch of tension, the latter evoked by Sen’s speedy delivery.
Hello Hello transports us to an electro-underworld of glitchy melodies and eerie vocals, mirroring the track’s title, drawing us into a dream of floaty grooves and squeaky sound washes. It’s an edgy but engaging offering.
The penultimate track, Corner, bridges a warm bassline with reverb-drenched vocals, swirling against muted kickdrums and hazy hi-hats. It’s sultry but spectral too, sparking an image of the bitter end of an afterparty. Another excellent collaboration features on the closing track Mala, as Cousn team up with Brighton-based musician Scott Booth. Wrapping up the album on a sombre note, the three artists combine their tastes to pen a beautiful, heartrending track that burbles with drum breaks and twinkling piano notes. With no vocals, it’s a stripped-back but moving end to an enchanting collection, allowing us to relish in the warmth of the album hours after listening.
Cousn are a Bristol-born duo whose close familial bond as cousins translates into their musical output. Alfie and Billy Goffey produce with a dynamic approach, displaying their strengths as contemporary electronic music artists. Together, the pair run a collective called FAMLY Connection, where they platform emerging talents in the fields of music and visual art. Since forming their Cousn alias in 2013 at 16, the pair have leaned into house, disco, acid and punk in their unique way, delighting discernible audiences worldwide. As DJs, the Goffey cousins have soundtracked The Warehouse Project, Printworks, Motion and Secret Garden Party, among others. FAMLY JEWELS reflects the pair’s free-thinking aesthetic in the electronic realm, spotlighting the innate skills of two blood-related pals open to collaboration. It provides an insight into their lighthearted world while affirming the pair’s serious mindset in the studio and ability to bring up other artists along the way—something that aligns with the ethos of Irvine Welsh’s newly launched Jack Said What label.
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