Cousin Oliver

Drive Thru Records, 1997


REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


Sometimes, you hear a CD and you are compelled to listen to it again. You get to the end and think, "Wow. That couldn't have been that good, so you listen again. The next thing you know you can hum the melody to nearly all of the songs.


That's what best describes what happened with Cousin Oliver's punk/ska slab of 37 minutes called (818). Aside from giving me fits on how to punctuate the parenthesis and quote marks, this release is almost always in my CD player. Shamelessly plugging for this, buy this disc. It's only $10 and even in the remote chance that you aren't into music this good, you might get a kick out of their alcohol and recording equipment experiment. But that's later.

First off, I get the impression these guys are horny bastards. At least half are about sex, or a lack thereof.

The disc starts out with "Shot My Boss." Granted, I thought this was going to be a typical punk thrasher tune until the band slips into a mid-tempo groove complete with horns and a keyboard groove. While the lyrics are not my favorite, they are well-written and sung with a lot of conviction.

I must be waiting.

Second track, "Share," is about an interesting relationship:

She only loves me for my cash

I only lover her for that assmy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

She's a whore but I don't care

She's a love I've learned to share

The straightforward delivery of these lyrics work. The guitars are urgent and work.

Waiting for some chick.

The songs I enjoy listening to the most, though, are "I Didn't Know," "Never Neverland" and "Head."

"I Didn't Know" displays the band's best side of their sense of humor. It's about picking up a "girl" at a bar, giving her a ride home and then . . ., well:

So I walk on in

I put my hands on her hips

Get close, giver her a little kiss

Oh My God

I didn't know

That you were one of those

I didn't know

That you had one of those

Poor guy.

To go down.

"Never Neverland" is an anthem for slackers. With the chorus of:

I don't want to grow up

I don't want to be anything

Just lazy

I don't want any responsibility

No way, that's not me.

While it may seem like this review reads like a bunch of quoted lyrics, Cousin Oliver do a good job of telling their story with honest lyrics, something you don't hear very often in modern popular songs. While Cousin Oliver is probably not going to win a Grammy (as though that award is something on which to base any sort of opinion about a band), these are damned good songs.

On me.

The last of my favorite tracks is a song called "Head." Take a piece of scratch paper and write down the first three things you think of when I write "Head." I'll wait.

Ready? Okay, here is what Cousin Oliver's song "Head" is about:

Waiting, I must be waiting / Waiting for some chick to go down on me.

Did you guess? No? Well, go buy this CD as your punishment. It's only $10 and we both know you have that stashed in your couch cushions or in unreturned beer bottles from last weekend's party.

In addition to the 12 tracks that are labeled on the outside of the CD cover, there is a hidden track. A calm voice intones "The following example is what happens when you mix alcohol and recording equipment. Do not try this at home. Thank you." After which, the band, either drunk or acting drunk, plays a grotesque song about a woman you might keep in your refrigerator. There are some vague references made to Guns 'N Roses which are hilarious.

If for no other reason, Cousin Oliver will probably make you smile and in the ho-hum world we live in, that is easily worth the price of this CD.

I promise my next review won't plug the CD as much as this one. I am almost nauseated by the number of times I mention "buying this CD."



Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 1998 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Drive Thru Records, and is used for informational purposes only.