Dark forces are at work here....

Dark forces are at work here. Barely a year old, Cousteau sound like they spend each day gazing poetically at rain clouds with the world's volume turned down. But as Strangelove, Jack and other dramatically morose bands would testify, gloom is possibly the hardest feeling to get right.

You know Cousteau have cracked it by the fact their self-titled debut album doesn't merely sound glum. Just quietly beautiful. This surpasses the slow, even depressing nature of most tracks here until you can barely tell whether smooth-throated Irish singer Liam McKahey is moaning about lost love or praising the fantastic state of his romantic life. As indie's unsung answer to Barry White, you're simply left overawed in the face of his crooning, every required shiver shooting down your spine.

With that voice, it's barely necessary to go overboard musically and Beirut-born songwriter Davey Ray Moor keeps it perfectly low-key. Hinting at the murky minimalism between Nick Cave and Tindersticks, Cousteau layer flutes, horns and violins over acoustic guitars and pianos and make the gorgeous lilt of debut single 'The Last Good Day Of The Year' already sound like a classic love song.

Sometimes, you see, darkness can be strangely welcoming.
7 / 10

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