For many artists, reinvention is a key to the craft. Though Australian singer/songwriter Steve Smith has been a part of the music industry for over three decades, since Fallon Cush debuted with a self-titled album in 2011, he has found himself exploring new pathways to music, pushing himself sonically as an artist and performer. Five years later the project is as strong as ever, with Smith, guitarist Glen Hannah, keyboard player Scott Aplin and drummer and bassist Josh Schuberth recruiting Stephen Marcussen to help them refine the roots part of their roots rock sound thanks to his work with Dawes, the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and the Decemberists.
Today, Elmore is streaming a selection of tracks from the group’s latest record, Bee In Your Bonnet, which will be released May 20th. Smith’s voice draws you in from the get go, an arresting, nasal tenor that calls to mind the great Tom Petty on rambling rock tracks like “There’s A Dark Side To That Moon” but, as previous critics have noted, takes a Dylan-esque edge on wordier, contemplative tracks like “Useless Friend.”
“Less You’re Near” contrasts a sunshine sense of nostalgia with careful, measured pacing to create a perfect driving-with-the-top-down tune. Many of the songs present themselves as expansive, ambitious road-ready jams thanks to the ever present, upbeat pairing of drums and guitar, but the band never overshadows the vocals, which are the main show on this effort. Smith proves himself capable of true versatility as a frontman, surprising listeners with the sudden downtempo shift of the darker “For Too Long,” which unfolds with a hesitant, confessional tone. Fallon Cush is a little alt-country, a little rock, a little roots, and as they continue to grow both as a band and as singular musicians, we can only hope that they’ll continue to shrug off easy classification, experimenting all along the way.
Get a taste of Bee In Your Bonnet below, and grab yourself a copy when the album drops this Friday.