Well, happiness exists. And it exists in the form of Sydney’s psych-pop stars Cull. Despite the title that you’ll inevitably have to copy-and-paste, Cull’s Bà Nội is a mind-expanding treat of the highest order. Listening to these four songs is like playing Candy Crush with Merlin or sliding down a water slide with a Sasquatch: there’s a simple, innocent pleasure that is immediately increased in awesomeness through the inclusion of a mythical element. And goddamn, if that is not the greatest allegory I have ever written.
The opener to the EP is entitled ‘World Inside Your Head’, a song that grabs from all the great psych-poppers and sketches them into a truly beautiful track. It’s like if ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’ was covered from start to finish by MGMT, and then Kevin Parker did a remix. ‘World Inside Your Head’ spins around like a desktop background screensaver, delightfully jumping around at an irreverent pace with jilted keys and faraway drone-y guitar that buries into whatever gland produces total enjoyment,
After that burst of sunshine-filtered-with-drugs opener, the quirk and psych gets upped with ‘The Sacred Burn Urn’, a track that thankfully comes off really well, and not like the most bullshit pysch pretentiousness that a song title like that could have warned of. Instead, the song balances between grinding self-consciousness and lightly-stepping on the cornerstones of Tame Impala, and fearlessly journeying into a deep abysses of sound. You wanted pretentiousness? You came to the right place. Soundly ‘I write with a pencil signed by Hemmingway’ Sounds.
‘Animate’ continues the dual nature of Cull’s song, schizophrenically switching between balls-out crushing noise and wide-eyed and wafting sounds. Rather than being disorientating, the song actually just epitomises all there is to love about psych pop, the nonchalant weirdness that alienates and draws you in. The swaying nature of the track is awesome, and Cull perfect both sides of psychedelic music that ‘Animate’ displays.
Likewise to ‘Animate’, ‘Keep My Star’ spirals between two sides of the same stone, however on their last track, Cull decide to really show how good they are at shoegaze. However, this is more the kind of stuff that made My Bloody Valentine famous, for when Cull get noisy, they get really fucking noisy, peeling layer after layer of guitar into the mix. And when Cull get mellow, by Peter Tosh’s dread-hairs do they get mellow. The vocals that sink and drift in the murky verses of ‘Keep My Star’ are a little bit off-putting, and all the more desirable for it.
For a local band, Cull show that they have a firmer grip on how to manipulate noise and rhythms within a song than most established bands. Their off-kilter presence, and ability to channel pysch-pop into groovy, constantly listenable stuff is fucking awesome to say the least.