Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird (CTBNF) are a revelation for me and one of the most fascinating artists coming out of Australia. There is a Burt Bacharach sixties-infused expansiveness mixed with a Jimmy Webb songwriting craft, all layered with an antipodean genetic code stretching from The Go-Betweens and The Apartments through to Nick Cave. The result are indelible melodies and a magnetic presence.
Last year’s ‘When This Is Over’ was my single of the year: a heartwarming paean to optimism and hope in the darkest of times (read my review here). A resultant search through the back catalogues of CTBNF reveals a stunning thread of brilliance over two albums.
CTBNF are now back with another stunning track in ‘Bluestone’, out through the magnificent Double Drummer label, news of a new album (their third) as well as some live dates.
In ‘Bluestone’, the deep, sonorous vocals grab you by your spine and hold fast, the horns swirling through the track provide a powerful, stirring binding in the mix. It is songs like this where the term cinematic is aptly applied to music: describing the vastness of the sound, the detailed evocative imagery and the hypnotising effect that overwhelms the senses.
Frontman Lachlan Rose says of the track:
For me, Bluestone is a song of acceptance. Heartache and grief reach a certain stage at which you can finally turn around and view it with gratitude for the way in which it has shaped you. ‘I love you for leaving’ to me represents the euphoria of not just acceptance but reverence for the hard journey that led you to this point. In some ways, the metaphor of a relationship as a bluestone house continues the poetic journey of [earlier track] ‘Best Face to London’, the result of composing music whilst on a building worksite.
Bluestone becomes the palimpsest for a relationship: the solid and constant foundation upon which relationships can build and sometimes fail. Lyrically beautiful images to match the powerful delivery:
This is magnificent songwriting, augmented by a spinetingling delivery.
CTBNF have just finished mixing their third album (which includes ‘When This Is Over’) and will be heading out on an extensive tour. In the meantime, to sate the appetite, they have announced a couple of preliminary Australian East Coast gigs (tickets here):
June 24 – Transit Bar – Canberra
June 25 – Project Contemporary Artspace (Smoke & Steel) – Wollongong
June 26 – The Vanguard – Sydney