Suave, classy chamber-pop from a sharp-suited band fronted by a singer with the voice of Scott Walker and the rugged good looks of Daniel Craig. What more could you want?
Cousteau plough a similar furrow to bands like Jack and Tindersticks, but with a bit more of a jazzy feel in the songs' arrangements. Lead singer Liam McKahey's lugubrious baritone lends weight and mystery to these sexy love songs.
The band play to their strengths and push McKahey's croon way up in the mix while the music plucks and sways behind him. A lot of bands trying to pull off this sort of stuff come on too heavy with the strings - not so Cousteau; they use them to EXpress rather than IMpress.
'The Last Good Day Of The Year' is superb, a 'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore' for the Noughties - yes, it's THAT good. It's a crime that this song wasn't a huge hit despite being championed by, of all people, Terry Wogan on Radio 2.
Almost as good are 'Wish You Were Her'(one of the few upbeat numbers) and 'She Don't Hear Your Prayer.' Amongst the moodier, slower tracks, 'Your Day Will Come' and 'Ruinous Blue' are the pick. The album ends with 'Of This Goodbye', not, as this reviewer thought on first hearing, a song about a lover leaving, but actually written about the death of a relative. In less capable hands this could have come out as mawkish but Cousteau strike the right note of dignity in a moving tribute.