Michael Cullen is never going to get lost in the crowd. His Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen baritone talk/song is here to mesmerize just in time for the holidays. Seriously, if you are like me and really don’t like Christmas music, Michael Cullen is a good bet. He’ll wash those tunes right out of your head.
Just play his new record True Believer on the hi fi and watch your drunk uncle sway during his political rant, fighting the force that is Cullen’s voice. Aunt Marge will wince but tap her fingers next to her fourth glass of sherry. And you’ll be in the happiest of bliss.
True Believer comes loping out of the gate with “Black Dog,” the kind of track you’d expect to hear in the closing credits of an early Guy Ritchie movie. Other stand out tracks are “Cha Cha Cha D’Amour” and “Nothing Special.”
The whole of True Believer is an antidote to overly-produced and packaged pop oozing from your headphones. Hey, if you like that sort of thing, then cool but sometimes it’s good to take a break from the schlock and fire up your brain with the real shit.
Cullen is also one of those artists who still believes in making music the analog way, using tape machines and semi-acoustic guitars, tube mics and Moog synths. He would certainly get the thumbs up from analog lover Dave Grohl and the myriad recording studios around the country. There’s nothing like that rich sound.
Cullen is always raw but sincere, drawing heavily from his punk days and bringing his sound to new ears. His 20 year collaboration with Tim Powles (The Venetians, The Divinyls, Angry Anderson, The Church) has resulted in this gorgeous old/new sound.
True Believer a reminder that music can still be unique.
Members/Instruments: Michael Cullen plus timEbandit Powles (Tim Powles of The Church)
Production: Michael Cullen and timEbandit Powles. Mixed by Danton Supple.
True Believer Tracklisting:
1. Black Dog
3. Nothing Special
4. Black Coffee and Cigarettes
6. Cha Cha Cha d’Amour
7. I Walk Alone
8. I Never Knew
9. Broken Horses