Veteran singer-songwriter Michael Cullen was featured back in March with his excellent track “Do You Believe?“, whose strategic meshing of synth-pop and ’80s-flaired alternative reminded me fondly of both Depeche Mode and Talking Heads. That cut was off his album Love Transmitter, released back in 2002. With his new album True Believer, released earlier this month, Cullen seems to be retracing back to his roots in enjoyable form. As noted previously, Cullen has been involved in several Australian acts whose style is akin to the jangly rainy-day brilliance of Aussie legends The Church, who Cullen has worked with in the past alongside drumming collaborator Tim Powles.
With that in mind, True Believer highlight “Nothing Special” sounds like it could easily have been created during The Church’s heyday, which is quite the complement. The chorus – with its haunting organ and handclap percussion – is immediately captivating upon its initial reveal 0:36 in, providing nostalgic glimpses at Australia’s great alt-rock scene of the past, where The Church and The Go-Betweens set the bar. Gotta love the fierce, brass-accompanied intensity around 02:17, as well. Fortunately, Cullen isn’t attempting any out-of-place sort of stylistic transitioning, as some veteran artists do; “Nothing Special” doesn’t defy any stylistic norms, but it does plenty in affirming Cullen’s continued success as a songwriter steeped in the Aussie alt-rock tradition.
Stream the rest of True Believer below: