Alt rockers Michael P. Cullen & the Soul Searchers uncover a noire and gothic sound on EP, ‘Live At Lazybones’

'Live At Lazybones,' Michael P. Cullen

Australian artist Michael P. Cullen and the Soul Searchers deliver their rich, noire, and intense EP, entitled, Live At Lazybones.  Recorded live at the art deco splendor of the Lazybones Lounge in Marrickville, an inner Western suburb of Sydney, Michael P. Cullen and the Soul Searchers’ perform in top notch form, creating a riveting and textural stance with this cinematic feat.

Backed by the Soul Searchers, which consist of independent music legend, Tim Ebandit Powles (drums, percussion, and vocals), Craig Wilson (keyboards), Andy Sharpe (bass), and James Harland (guitar), Cullen’ s vocals which is a rich baritone tinged with wistfulness and regret, recreates a gothic-style America and with his mystifying lyrics suggestive of an enigmatic sound that conjures up instances of classic Noir-style Hollywood with notes of New Wave and Southern Gothic Americana.

The live album starts out with “Black Dog (Live),” an appealing tune that begins with a rolling and rollicking sound.  Incorporating a bluesy, big-time vibe with vibrant vocals, the addicting music is fully charged.  The energized performance erupts with a striking sound with melodic piano keys and traces of the electric guitar being strummed with rhythm throughout the song.

“Nothing Special (Live)” is seeped with an ultra-vibrant sound.  Evident is a bustling, energetic vibe.  The bass gives an added bluesy rhythm to the song.  Howling electric-blending guitars add a robust sound joining in with the bass and enticing drums.  Cullen sings with exacting venom that the girl was “nothing special.”

“Black Coffee And Cigarettes (Live)” has a great rock vibe.  The alt rockers really prove that they have a rocking sound in this track.  A melding of a classic rock vibe with an alternative rock style, “Black Coffee And Cigarettes (Live)” is a bold rock ballad with blazing guitars and synchronized drums that keep accurate time with the beats.  This is a slightly nostalgic song tinged with regret as Cullen rewinds over those sessions that recall “black coffee and cigarettes.”

“Believer (Live)” starts out with some big sounding guitars that are filled with reverb.  Especially here on this song, the noir feel is prevalent and with Cullen’s textured baritone vocals we really get the gothic approach.  The haunting singing really adds a gritty outtake to the overall vibe.

The last track, “I Walk Alone (Live),” is a raw confessional that imbues a no holds barred attitude to the song.  With striking and relentless vocals, Cullen’s voice elicits a cinematic vibe here with an in-depth breadth of Gothic and noire storytelling added to the mixture.

Soaked in regret and longing, Michael P. Cullen and the Soul Searchers’ sound recalls seedy bars in ’60s Las Vegas gambling halls and a Gothic Americana awakening.  Comparative to Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and Nick Cave, what suddenly evaporates in front of you as you take a gander at Cullen’s work is instead of the usual modern fare we see in contemporary pop music today, we get music that speaks to the American Diaspora with sporadic hints at life that thrives on the peripheral, a shadowy world that flourishes while on the edge.  With themes of regret and loneliness, what unfolds is a highly cinematic release that dares to blanch the ever veiled world that exists next to us and one that pulp writers of the 50s loved to write about.

A highly bold work, Live At Lazybones, dares to progress these ideas and in a live recording that fully showcases Cullen’s expert showmanship and raw talent as a performer.  Filled with an authentic live energy, Live At Lazybones is a must-listen.

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My Nguyen

My Nguyen is a CD reviewer from San Diego, CA. She regularly contributes to She has also has her fiction and book reviews published at Community Voices, Espresso1, Whistling Fire, The Pedestal, Straylight Magazine, Baby Lawn Literature, and Ultimate Writer Quarterly.