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Coolonaut - Tales From The Black Stump (self-released)

28 May 2024

Anything that reminds me of Burning Tree, that much-overlooked, late-eighties retro-blues trio, will always be okay with me. That said, there is more at work here than just that one influence, and anyway, as magnificent as Marc Ford’s pre- Black Crowes outfit were, they could hardly claim to be immune to accusations of channelling the past.

What we have in Tales From The Black Stump is an album infused and inspired by all manner of past styles, from acid laced rock to Beatles -style progressive pop to psychedelic sonics to pastoral 60’s sounds, but which have arrived in the present day through more modern filters.

And so the if opener “Fish Eye Lens” reminds me of the aforementioned Burning Tree it is more because both take some sort of cue from bands like Cream. Similarly, the rock ragga of “Indian Boy” is as much Kula Shaker or Cornershop as it is the sixties itself, and “Monochrome World” is a song that Oasis would have knocked you to the ground to have got their hands on back in their heyday.

My point here is that even music that seems nostalgic or inspired by past glories is often just a modern antennae angled precisely to pick up all those cool musical reference points and sonic touch stones. Artists such as Coolonaut should be seen as torchbearers looking to continue that cool (pun intended) creative story rather than someone merely looking to repackage the past. The past may never really have sounded like this anyway, but thankfully, thanks to this fantastic artist, the present definitely does.