Outsiders - Heath Cullen (Five By Nine Records)
This is surely the disc which will finally break Heath Cullen in Australia, and the hearts of women everywhere. Hugely talented (Cullen produced the disc, and it sounds just lush and fine and crisp), the man has a knack of gathering like-minded musicians who just happen to share his dark and mystical streak.
Comparisons abound; a friend who is a big Cullen fan spots a Hugo Race-like similarity. I doubt that’s intended; more like Cullen and Race have visited the same horse races…
Outsiders is Cullen’s third LP, and this time he’s working with - get this - Elvis Costello’s band, The Imposters. Pete Thomas, Steve Nieve and Davey Faragher have all pitched in (and the result is mighty); significantly, this is the first time The Imposters have worked with any other singer.
Cullen, in fact, could give ol’ Declan a run for his money. Certainly other similarities run through the songs, but frankly, this is nitpicking. "Outsiders" is very much an album which has part of its soul here in Australia, but because it is essentially a road album, a finger-snapping, feet-twisting dancin’ dark blues album. "Outsiders" belongs to the world and it’s hard to conceive, in the light of repeated listens (I couldn’t help it) of a radio station squawking against constant airplay. Once more I reiterate, we live in a golden age of music, and the majors are running scared of the talent, clinging to the old stuff like moss clings to a rock that’s long stopped rolling.
We all know that tedious hip community radio station which plays that angry yelly stuff. We also know that we’re not always in the mood for that. And in twenty years time we won’t want to hear all that yelly stuff unless we were in the crowd or part of that scene for its entire life of two years … we’ll be wanting to hear albums like "Outsiders", so we can listen, dance, moan, recall lost possibilities and fuck until our heart gives out.
Pester the man and get him to tour your town.