Duzheknew / Cousins Whippersnapper Gallery, Toronto ON April 23

Duzheknew / Cousins Whippersnapper Gallery, Toronto ON April 23
As a venue, Whippersnapper has an ad hoc vibe with its makeshift stage giving shows an organic feel. Celebrating the release of a split cassette, incestuous Halifax bands Cousins and Duzheknew profited from the inclusive setting, their layered songs given an instantly approachable tenor.

Touring as a drums-and-guitar two-piece, Cousins played sonorous, angular tracks with hints of Pinback, albeit without the bass lines, and Dinosaur Jr., albeit without the droll whimsy, with the duo's held notes and anthemic aspirations battering the low-ceilings throughout the rousing set. Taking a brief break, Cousins morphed into Duzheknew's rhythm section for a spat of overtime.

Though sharing much of the same line-up, Cousins and Duzheknew shared little of the same sound, the latter dropping all fist-pump notions in favour of meticulously concocted art wave.

After post-punk revival comes new new wave, or something to the effect. In that vein, Duzheknew (aka Adam O'Reilly plus Cousins) touches on Chameleons and Talking Heads without relying too heavily on either. Post-brood and post-synth, the sound is fresh, its dark melodies juxtaposing with O'Reilly's volatile lilt, which, at turns, conjures Wolf Parade's Spencer Krug.

With his crack rhythm section keeping things grounded, O'Reilly had plenty of room to explore lyrical and vocal flights of fancy, which he did with charisma and art rock aplomb. In its nascence, Duzheknew's live show is brief but compelling, offering a rough hewn charm and brimming with promise.