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A New Kind Of Blue (Stephen Cummings)1 - Unnamed


"IN AN EARLIER era, Stephen Cummings would most typically have been discovered leaning against a piano, cigarette in hand, in some deserted club, singing Billy Strayhorn's Lush Life.

On last year's album Lovetown, the former Sports vocalist played the role of the forlorn figure, lost in his thoughts at the midnight hour, to perfection, but this year's follow-up is everything that album represented and more. 

Recorded with a sophistication that belies the modesty of its budget, A New Kind of Blue sets a new standard of maturity for Australian pop. That old cliche about the need to slog it out for years on the pub circuit being Australian musicians' greatest strength has never sounded so redundant, for here is a record of multi-layered sensitivities that mocks the brutishness of the beer halls. The most immediate change from the previous LP is the richness of the sound, which often resembles the lushness of British bands such as Scritti Politti (in their Sweetest Girl phase), Aztec Camera and Prefab Sprout, while avoiding the feyness of the latter. Yet there's an essentially informal, relaxed feel to Cummings's music that locates it unambiguously within Australia's New World. Utilising musicians as diverse as guitarist Andrew Pendlebury and Vince Jones's bassist, Stephen Hadley, the songs here melt together country, jazz and folk sounds as if they had never been apart, with lyrics that are world-weary but wise. 

Blue is a record that takes some time to smoulder its way into your affections, but once there, it glows like embers on a winter's fire. This is suave, adult music that bears the intimacy of confessions whispered in the early hours. Australia - or anywhere else, for that matter - is unlikely to hear a record as gracefully accomplished in the whole of 1989." 

by Lynden Barber - Sydney Morning Herald, 28 February 1989


For more info and his other releases, go to his Artists Page.

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