Michael Cullen - Love Transmitter (Cover Artwork)

Michael Cullen

Love Transmitter (2012)


Michael Cullen is a veteran of the Australian circuit, having cut his teeth on the Sydney music scene in the early ‘90s with guitar-driven three-piece The Hardheads. When The Hardheads morphed into Watershed in 1995, they recruited legendary drummer Tim Powles (The Divinyls, Angry Anderson) on sticks, and this kicked off an artistic collaboration between Cullen and Powles that has now been going strong for twenty years.

At the turn of the century, Cullen and Powles worked together on a record called Love Transmitter and the album has recently been re-issued and re-mastered. Resonating with moody melancholia and a strange, dark beauty, Love Transmitter is a reverb-drenched, atmospheric slice of synth pop that explores both the nature of love, and the nature of love gone wrong.

Cullen clearly admires the gravelly, cowboy vocals of artists such as Nick Cave, Johnny Cash and Tom Waits, his sleazy baritone infusing every song with a haunting, quasi-gothic quality. And underneath his rich and powerful voice, crunchy drums and oceanic guitar parts combine to create a swirling, gnashing wall of sound.

Album highlights include the swaggering, bass riff-led "Spill" ("You think you're different honey? The world's full of girls like you"), the infectious "One Is Still My Number" and confrontational album opener "Do You Believe?". Cullen's distinctive and uncomprising vocal will no doubt turn off some listeners, but fans of theatrical New Wave should find plenty to get excited about here.