Songwriters and bands inevitably reach junctions in their careers, whether it’s due to lineup changes, geographical relocation, creative differences or the desire to shake things up. In the case of Sydney songwriter Steve Smith, the heart and soul of Fallon Cush, he found himself contemplating the future of the band after a run of five albums in eight years. The good news for the band and its fans is that it was merely the start of a new and revitalised phase for Fallon Cush.
"By the time we’d finished the last record, Morning, I thought that’d be the end of it. It was really quite difficult getting that record finished for a number of reasons. This record feels like a bit of a fresh start, there’s an energy around it. It’s a good feeling.
Strange but good.”
Stranger Things Have Happened is an album that rings loud and clear with a seemingly endless supply of melodies that cascade from the speakers in a near-perfect blend of indie rock and alt-country. Recorded and mixed by Josh Schuberth at Endomusia Studios, Blue Mountains, NSW, with additional recording by Michael Carpenter at Love Hz Studios, Sydney, NSW, the album finds Smith drawing from an iconic set of classic influences. There are chiming open chords that recall The Byrds and Tom Petty blended seamlessly with classic rock and astute pop-leaning songwriting that draws from the melodic nous of Ryan Adams, Wilco, The Jayhawks and Steely Dan.
Lead single ‘The Key’ rides a wistful Elvis Costello-leaning verse before Tim Byron’s lush organ sound ushers them into the chorus where Smith ponders the sweet mystery of a strong relationship. Right across the album he takes a magnifying glass to people and the point of interaction – where things can gel or fall apart.
“The songs can probably be broken into two categories - story-telling or conversational and I guess I’m reaching out to the people closest to me, dead and alive. Telling them things, how I feel, what’s going on. I really tried to take the filter off and not to pull any punches, just tell it like it is, or was at a point in time.”
“Just having a settled and pretty great rhythm section in Pete [Marley] and Russ [Crawford] makes such a difference to the cohesiveness and vibe of the record,” reflects Smith. That interplay and strength of all the players on the album can clearly be heard. Whether it’s the versatility and nuance of guitarist Casey Atkins, the aforementioned balance and drive of the rhythm section or the tender ache of Suzy Goodwin’s backing vocals, they’re all integral elements to the beautiful swing and sway of this new set of songs.
‘Sleep Her Away’ is a contender for one of Smith’s finest choruses. It soars with that kind of jubilant melancholy that requires a special tone and phrasing. In contrast, ‘Yarraman’ strips things back to a skeletal country music canvas while ‘Benny’ allows the band to stretch out, dipping their toes into glorious yacht rock waters.
“The important thing is that everyone gets the opportunity to put their own stamp on the songs so we get an identifiable sound happening and everyone’s personality or style comes through,” Smith stresses. The songs on Stranger Things Have Happened find Smith at the top of his game, yet just as importantly the album represents the collective glory of Fallon Cush in full flight.
released November 6, 2019
Steve Smith: vocals, guitars
Suzy Goodwin: backing vocals
Casey Atkins: guitars, backing vocals
Tim Byron: keyboards
Peter Marley: bass, backing vocals
Russell Crawford: drums
Josh Schuberth: lap steel, percussion
Recorded and mixed by Josh Schuberth at Endomusia Studios, Blue Mountains NSW
Additional recording by Michael Carpenter at Love Hz Studios, Sydney NSW
Reviews regularly see Fallon Cush more than favourably compared to the likes of The Jayhawks, Ryan Adams, Wilco and Tom
Petty which of course pleases them no end. Described as “the perfect combination of hook-laden songcraft and timeless musicality” by Post To Wire the band is set to release their eagerly awaited fifth album, Stranger Things Have Happened in the second half of 2019...more
supported by 4 fans who also own “Stranger Things Have Happened”
Power Pop goodness in the tradition of earlier bands like Dbs, The Romantics, The Beat. Good all around sound from this band who while not raging, or engaging in all sorts of effects....are RnR. krotix