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DIY Pop Is a Family Matter for Bentcousin

DIY Pop Is a Family Matter for Bentcousin
Photo courtesy of Team Love Records

Meet the most tender-hearted bar band in London

By Beverly Bryan
February 15, 2013

Name: Bentcousin (Amelia and Pat Innit)

Where They’re From: Brighton, UK (Now based in London)

When They Started: 2011

Genre: Indie pop

Most Similar: Scott and Charlene’s Wedding, Keel Her, Allo Darlin

Sounds Like: Lo-fi, lower middle class troubadourism

Bentcousin make the best kind of indie pop. Fronted by scruffily adorable siblings Amelia and Pat, their catchy ditties are as rough around the edges and they are sensitive, and the content of the lyrics is as off-color and awkward as the melodies are pleasing.

Songs like “bentpaperboy” and “Glittery Joe” hold all the mildly transgressive intrigue of Belle and Sebastian circa If You’re Feeling Sinister. But instead of expertly arranged songs inspired by ’60s soul and French pop, Bentcousin trades in pub-bred fuzz pop, which adds to their songs’ instant relatability. Whatever they may lack in polished instrumentation, they make up for in classic tunecraft and Velvet Underground-style storytelling. Amelia, the elder sibling, has a clear, sweet voice that stands in sharp contrast to her worldly delivery, allowing her to more efficiently merge the roles of Nico and Lou Reed.

The band’s debut album Everybody’s Got One, out next week on Conor Oberst’s Team Love label, will draw you in like a good book, specifically like a seedy memoir of misspent youth, or a melancholic graphic novel populated with lovable misfits. Here are songs to make you wish people still made mixtapes or had the time to listen to them. “I Think I Like Your Girlfriend More Than You,” in which Amelia plays the part of café chanteuse, is a track of such substance and quality that it could inspire innumerable themed playlists: “Friend Crushes,” “Terrible Relationships,” “Nouveau Ye-Ye.” Okay, so maybe they work in a touch of French pop, but they mess up its hair. C’est magnifique!

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