Cull – Bà ná»™i (Independent)


The four track Bà ná»™i EP (or seven if you purchase the CD and get the bonus downloads) is a blissful blast of noise swirling around earworm melodies. Lead track, ‘World Inside Your Head’ harks back to truly classic shoegaze. A stately pace is established after an introduction of wandering electronic debris, all glowing in reverb washes. Then there’s the lead instrumental hook – a Paul McCartney-esque descending bass run during the chorus. With most other musical sounds in the song, even during the instrumental sections, serving rhythmic purposes, that small glissando takes on subtly monumental proportions, the hook that links the listener to the outer space explorations of all the other sounds, the stereoscopic guitar washes, the stray noise samples, the random, fluttering effects processing. It’s a truly great track.

‘The Sacred Burial Urn’ follows down the path of noisy, melancholy bliss, this time with overtones of latter day Flaming Lips in the heavily compressed and delayed vocals, the piecemeal arrangement, flying analog synth blips and acoustic guitar interruptions, its four minutes never quite settling but still dragging through a full psychedelic sound experience. There are shades of Tame Impala’s updated retro-ism, particularly across ‘Animate’, but the blast of guitar noise mid-song is more aggressive than anything the Perth band would play, while the synths are happy to evoke the 80s new wave underground, diversifying the sound beyond 60s touch points. The closer on the EP proper, ‘Keep My Star’ comes on like My Bloody Valentine before settling down into a blissed out semi-motorik groove, melody again finding its way to the foreground before a full freak-out finish. The bonus tracks pull together some earlier Soundcloud releases and extras which sound a little more formative. Glimpses of the Beach Boys pulling against complete noise breakdowns, with broken drum rolls propelling guitar tones fuzzed into the red.

Bà ná»™i was apparently written as a response to the death of Cull main man, Chumpy Ly’s, grandmother. The melancholy across the tracks therefore feels unforced, entirely apt. The mood is a powerful mix of joy, beauty and heaviness, form fitting with function quite seamlessly. With nods to a few now classic genres from the past, but without bowing to the pressure of simple emulation, the young Sydney group has created a confident, accomplished début.

Adrian Elmer


About Author

Adrian Elmer is a visual artist, graphic designer, label owner, musician, footballer, subbuteo nerd and art teacher, who also loves listening to music. He prefers his own biases to be evident in his review writing because, let's face it, he can't really be objective.