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Cousteau

Cousteau

Rock group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Cousteau, a London band fronted by a compelling, tattooed, Irish-brogued singer, have garnered terrifically enthusiastic reviews since their 1998 debut. With a sound anchored by Liam McKaheys impressive baritone and embellished with unusual instrumentation, Cousteau have been described as elegantly swoonsome and soulful by Independent writer Garry Mulholland; a writer for New Musical Express claimed Cousteaus style was mellow, darkly dreamy and drenched in red wine. The bands first record, released in the United Kingdom on a bare-bones budget, is now a highly sought-after collectible, and with their second LP, Sirena, Cousteau were said to have come into their own. In their lush arrangements and overwrought, brooding vocals, opined New York Times writer Anthony DeCurtis about Sirena, the songs evoke a swirling rapture of the deep reminiscent of David Bowie, Bryan Ferry and Nick Cave at their most unguardedly romantic. Its a sophisticated and strangely unsettling sound and it runs counter to every current musical trend, from new metal to Americana, from remixes to rock minimalism.

Cousteaus members were all veterans of other acts at various points in their careers, and the group formed in north London in 1998 around its songwriter and pianist, Davey Ray Moor. An Australian who suffered from a bad case of asthma as a teen and thus spent an inordinate amount of time inside the housewhere he taught himself to play Beatles and David Bowie songsMoor eventually relocated to London and found a career as a writer of soundtrack music for films. He met guitarist Robin Brown and Joe Peet, a bass player, and the three began working on songs; within a short time drummer Craig Vear came on board, along with the enigmatic McKahey.

Born in the Irish city of Cork, McKahey grew up enjoying his fathers sole legacy to the family he abandoned: an impressive collection of rock and soul records. McKahey moved to London to attend art school and planned on a career in illustration, but his goals were subsumed by sloth, substance abuse, and late nights. Im very happy I was able to get out of it in one piece, McKahey told the Independents Mulholland about this time in his life, because a lot of my friends are dead now.

When Moor met McKahey, he immediately asked him to join the band. They and the other members agreed on the name Cousteau, after the famed French undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau. All of us, individually, wanted to be in his crew when we were kids, McKahey said in the Independent interview. When you think of the word you think of the sea, and the sea is a really good metaphor for what we do. Deep, mysterious, vast. After recording some tracks but failing to attract any label interest, the band released the songs as a self-titled debut LP in 1999. We were in a bit of a sink-or-swim situation really, McKahey told Evening News writer Ben Atherton. Nobody would give us a deal so we had no choice but to bring it out on our own. It was just a collection of demos.

Despite the bare-bones production, Cousteau was feted by music critics in Britain, who liked McKaheys croon and the unusual instruments deployed, like flute and flugelhorn. New Musical Express called the lead singer indies unsung answer to Barry White and commended the first single, The Last Good Day of the Year, for its gorgeous lilt. The critic asserted that the combined instrumentation of Last Good Day makes it already sound like a classic love song. The buzz surrounding the bandboosted by its live showshelped attract interest from legendary Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, who had recently launched a new label called Palm Pictures. Cousteaus debut was then rerecorded and remixed for a North American release in 2000. Again, critics delivered adulatory copy. Moors lyrics deal with broken souls, doomed romance and dislocated lives, all underscored by lonely lustful-ness, wrote John Aizlewood in Londons Guardian newspaper. Wholly without hubris, Aizlewood declared, Cousteau feel things; so they are out of fashion and a trifle uncool. That they make no attempt to rectify this makes them all the more laudable. Interestingly, Cousteaus new fan base, buying 200,000 copies of the Palm Pictures release, also drove up the price of the original, less-polished version from 1999, a rarity that began to fetch alarmingly high prices on the secondhand market.

Cousteau built up a following in part for their riveting live shows, for which the quintet donned vintage suits

For the Record

Members include Robin Brown , guitar, vocals; Liam McKahey (born c. 1965 in Cork, Ireland), vocals; Davey Ray Moor (born in Beirut, Lebanon), piano, vocals; Joe Peet , bass, violin, vocals; Craig Vear , drums.

Group formed in London, England, 1998; released self-titled debut LP on Global Warming label, 1999; in conjunction with U.S. tour, rerecorded Cousteau for North American release, 2000; released follow-up, Sirena, 2002.

Addresses: Record company Palm Pictures, 601 W. 26th St., 11th Floor, New York, NY 10001. Website Cousteau Official Website: http://www.cousteau.tv.

that gave off a sly retro look. But when McKahey took his jacket off after a few songs, his heavily tattooed forearms were clearly visible. The overall impression is of a man sensitive enough to render Mr. Moors poetic lyrics, noted DeCurtis in the New York Times, but tough enough to relish the memory of a barroom brawl or two. McKaheys baritone has been frequently compared to that of soul crooner Scott Walker. The American-born Walker had several hits in the United Kingdom in the late 1960s but was virtually unknown in his homeland. McKahey was flattered by the association. Walkers a god, Cousteaus singer told Atherton in the Evening News interview. Ive got all his albums, Ive listened to him all my life and my dad was into him as well.

Moors songwriting talents also garnered a good deal of critical admiration, and he sang on a few tracks as well. Reviewing Cousteau in the Guardian, Aizlewood asserted that Moor provides the songs of distinction that every lovelorn widescreen vocalist needs, but doesnt always have. Some of his tracks were compared to the chart-topping hits of 1970s stylist Burt Bacharachwriter of What the World Needs Now Is Love, among many other hits. McKahey, often the frontperson for the bands dealings with the press, did not recoil from the sentiment. The most important thing to us is melody, I know thats not very hip at the moment but thats what were about, McKahey told Birmingham Post journalist Simon Evans. Press interviews notwithstanding, the group has shared everything equally, as Moor explained to DeCurtis in the New York Times a byproduct of their long collective experience in other bands that went nowhere. Nobody needs to be the big I am and nobody is jostling to be noticed, Moor said. Its an older blokes approach, when you know whats precious and magical and what deserves to be taken care of.

In late 2001 Cousteau ended the tour dates and headed into the studio to record a follow-up, Sirena. Released in mid-2002, the work again won effusive praise from critics, who pointed out that the band had matured as artists in the interim. Commending such tracks as Nothing So Bad and Heavy Weather, Sunday Mercury writer Paul Cole called it a spine-tingling effort, noting that the bands hallmark haunting melancholy has been tempered with big ballad bravura on a grand scale. Though some predicted it could be the breakthrough that would make them the next Coldplay, McKahey dismissed the idea of calculated pop stardom. The day we try to write a hit single, McKahey told the Independents Mulholland, is the day were gonna split up.

Selected discography

Cousteau, Global Warming, 1999; rerecorded and reissued, Palm Pictures, 2000.

Sirena, Palm Pictures, 2002.

Sources

Birmingham Post (England), November 6, 2000, p. 13.

Evening News (Edinburgh, Scotland), November 2, 2000, p. 12.

Guardian (London, England), October 20, 2000, p. 18.

Independent (London, England), June 14, 2002, p. 21.

New Musical Express (England), November 4, 1999; December 2, 1999; June 13, 2000; January 12, 2001.

New York Times, June 30, 2002.

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), June 9, 2002, p. 39.

Carol Brennan

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Cousteau

Cousteaublotto, Giotto, grotto, lotto, motto, Otto, risotto, Watteau •Cocteau •molto, Sholto •pronto, Toronto •Ariosto •auto, Oporto, Porto, quarto •in toto, koto, Kumamoto, Kyoto, photo, Sesotho, Yamamoto •Bhutto, Maputo, Pluto, prosciutto, ritenuto, sostenuto, tenuto •Cousteau • putto • gusto • Pashto •undertow • Erato

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"Cousteau." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cousteau