Artist: Michael Cullen
Album: Love Transmitter
Producer: Tim Powles
Being sincere while passionately expressing your thoughts and feelings about life and love isn’t always an easy process, but when you hold the powerful musical versatility and talent as Australian musician Michael Cullen, the method becomes more genuine and authentic. The multi-talented and resourceful singer-songwriter-instrumentalist, who fronted such 90’s bands as The Hardheads and Watershed, is proving his enchanting grip of the randomness and sincerity of relationships with his solo debut album, ‘Love Transmitter.’ The record, which was originally released in his native country in 2002, has been enthrallingly remastered for its recent American release.
The performer, whose musical styles have been classified in such categories as Synth Pop, Gothic Rock and New Wave, powerfully uses his unique baritone voice to showcase his creative flexibility in singing, which ranges from a captivating croon to an intense tirade. Cullen swiftly and naturally changes his voice from sounding like Sting on the opening song, ‘Do You Believe?,’ to quickly drop the tune of his singing in the piece’s immediate follow-up, the enticing ‘Tidal Wave.’ While the first song questions if true love is truly real while going through an emotional time, the second track showcases the musician’s belief that with inspiration, that romantic connection can be found.
One of the other notable songs on ‘Love Transmitter,’ the equally compelling ‘Spill,’ emphasizes the difficulty in actually finding that meaningful connection. While Cullen sings about meeting a woman, he solemnly discovers she’s similar to many of the other women he knows, and she does little to help in his search for redemption.
The record’s final track, ‘Closer,’ is the ultimate culmination of the singer-songwriter’s true talent as a musician, infusing a folk pop sound with the album’s signature hard rock vibe. Singing about how he survived the journey of realizing he did want true love and then actually finding it and embarking on a passionate relationship, Cullen divulges his revelation that his home that once held love now feels cold. He heartbreakingly reveals that he feels his relationship is coming closer to its demise, and he has come to embrace the fact that not all connections are meant to last forever.
Not only were the vocals throughout Cullen’s record intriguingly relatable and powerful, the diverse and captivating instrumentals helped emphasize life’s unexpected journey and its unpredictable influences. Tim Powles and John Butler infused the record with distinct and enthralling beats and cords on the drums and guitars, from the mellowing ‘Do You Believe?,’ to the prominently assertive ‘All Used Up,’ to the compelling ‘Spill’ and the soothing and encouraging ‘Chinese Hammer.’
Cullen also proved his insightful nature into how experimenting with unexpected instruments can truly benefit a song. The musician creatively relied on the organ in several songs to emphasize his desire to change his life. The instrument was prominently featured on the unique track, ‘Hey Sister,’ but wasn’t overly powerful. It instead empowered the singer’s vocals about his need to improve his life. The organ also beneficially added a soothing nature to ‘Closer,’ signifying Cullen’s realization that he needs to end his romantic relationship and move on with his life.
The multi-versatile Australian musician captivatingly entices audiences with his completely unpredictable, but equally enthralling and relatable, lyrics and instrumentals. The incredibly engaging and addictive lyrics about the qualms of love and obsession are intelligently interlaced with gripping, compelling and intriguingly distinct guitar cords, drum beats and organ keys throughout ‘Love Transmitter.’ While passionately expressing your feelings isn’t an easy task for everyone, Cullen effortlessly and powerfully divulged his unique thoughts on the difficulties of love throughout his impressive solo debut album.
Written by: Karen Benardello