28 May 2008

Love Needs Us

A while ago, and I do mean a while, a year easy, I was driving somewhere with my boyfriend. Where we were going wasn’t important, probably just to the movies or something, but no, what is important to this story is what was on the radio. We rarely listen to the radio, on account of my compulsive mix tape making behaviour, but on this sunny day we were.

And in Australia, or at least my tiny part of it, if you don’t want to listen to rubbish all the time, you have to listen to Triple J, which is only rubbish part of the time. They were interviewing some guy from some band who had just won a competition. Triple J is always holding competitions to find the next big thing, how many next big things can there be out there? So I wasn’t really listening at first. But the guy’s voice drew me in. Even a year later I can remember the passion and excitement in his voice. He described his band, which seemed to be him and a five-piece all-girl choir, to the DJ. He didn’t seem to think there was anything odd about a band consisting of him and a five-piece all-girl choir. The DJ went on to describe the sound of the band as Pink Floyd meets Polyphonic Spree. I was intrigued! But I live in a very hilly area. Like, big hills all over the place. And when you live in a hilly place what you’ll find is at the top of the hill you’ll have radio reception, and at the bottom, well, you don’t. Just as the DJ was about to name the band and go a song the radio cut out!

But I was not foiled. It took a while, but endless searching of the complicated Triple J Web site gave me a band name. Cuthbert and the Night Walkers. Some internet snooping let me know that they didn’t have an album out, but I did manage to get my hands on two demos: "Red Frogs" and "Sparky." I was impressed. They did indeed sound like Pink Floyd mixed with Polyphonic Spree. The tracks were of dubious sound quality, but I loved the choir sound mixed with a classically Australian rock sound. Anyone who received a mix CD from me during this time probably got one of those two songs on it.

But, there is a lot of new music out there to be discovered, and I eventually forgot about Cuthbert and the Night Walkers. Until yesterday. I was looking for a Silver Jews CD and a cute little album cover caught my eye. It looked like a picture book cover or something. Closer inspection revealed it to be a full length Cuthbert and the Night Walkers album! Oh, how pleased I was! I put it on as soon as I got home. The songs were a lot more polished than the two demos, and some of the darkness had been lost. But a lot more was gained. The cleaner sound allowed the choir to really shine, and there was not a dud amongst the 10 songs I’d not heard before. Although, the version of Sparky to appear on the album was without lyrics. The subdued, kind of creepy piano instrumental it had become was very cool, (very cool) but I’d always liked the ambiguously sinister little story the song told.

All in all, a very cool album. Check them out!

Cuthbert and the Night Walkers - Love Needs Us

Cuthbert and the Night Walkers - Sparky (demo with lyrics).mp3
Cuthbert and the Night Walkers - Sparky (lyricless album version).mp3
Cuthbert and the Night Walkers - University.mp3
Cuthbert and the Night Walkers - Maggie's Health.mp3

Buy Love Needs Us

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