By Antiem Boyd
Michael Cullen has become an indie pop, punk godfather, edgier with time. Afraid of nothing. That’s what makes Cullen a True Believer and his record worth a listen. His music is not fearless so much as full of expectation. You can’t be too afraid when you know what real pain is. He’s been likened to Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, but there’s room in the genre for another towering voice and presence. This is not musical Highlander. And his latest record True Believer bears that out. He’s made a slot for himself.
Cullen didn’t start out so ensconced as one of the lords of alt. His earlier influences were ABBA, The Beatles, and AC/DC. There was also Elvis Costello, David Bowie, and The Cure but Cullen found his own cave and his own tribe after years of being in post punk bands across Sydney.
He’s not some reckless road warrior either. Cullen and musical partners timEbandit Powles and Danton Supple have melded their experience and know which formula of brand recognition works and which signature sound provides a long career.
Stand out tracks on True Believer are “Black Dog,” “Black Coffee and Cigarettes,” and “Cha Cha Cha D’Amour” but you can’t go wrong with any of them. “Damaged” damn near Quija Boards in Lou Reed’s ghost. It’s weird, hypnotic, and I find myself listening to this track the most. We’re in some kind of art movie where the plot almost makes sense. Like an early Jim Jarmusch movie.
True Believer is an exquisite album. We needed it.
Look for our review of “Cha Cha Cha D’Amour” here.
Michael Cullen plus timEbandit Powles (Tim Powles of The Church)
True Believer 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