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Australian indie stalwart Michael P Cullen is back with a new EP, Live at Lazybones. Recorded at the aforementioned Lazybones Lounge in Marrickville and supported by the Soul Searchers, Cullen delivers a cinematic film noir aura of dim, hazy nightclubs and maudlin black and white melancholy. Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits are the obvious influences, but other, Australian musicians like Nick Cave and especially the vocals of Robert Forster play important roles in the makeup of Cullen’s musical DNA as well. The five live renditions on this EP were originally from his True Believer album, and although perfectly fine on their own, together they create an alluring atmosphere that is irresistible.
“Black Dog” is the perfect, tempestuous mood setter for the EP, and it’s a swampy concoction by-way-of Humphrey Bogart and Flannery O’Connor, with a tip of the hat to the ever-looming Cohen. “Black Coffee And Cigarettes” is another clear highlight, and captures what Cullen is best at: raw, primeval emotion; and a dash of theatricality. But the closer, “I Walk Alone” has to be the star here, with its quality of a dark and twisted, alternate universe gospel hymn. Live at Lazybones captures something revelatory about Cullen, and it’s that as good as his studio albums may be, it’s very likely the best way to experience his music is live on stage.
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