Australian singer-songwriter Michael P. Cullen has a new single and music video out called “Do You Believe.” He amalgamates elements of noir, new wave, stax, and northern soul into coruscating musical concoctions exuding an avant-garde coloration. Cullen refers to his sound as “indie romance.”
Cullen provides vocals, guitar, and bass on the track, while Tim Powles of The Church contributes drums, percussion, and vocals. The video, directed and produced by Graham Gall, stars Morgane Housset.
“Do You Believe” opens with a penetrating guitar, followed by syncopated percussion and surfacing colors from an organ. Residual energy supplied by the tones of the organ ooze with an ozone-smelling mist. The mood of the tune encompasses nostalgia and lamentation, as Cullen’s plaintive voice questions the validity of love. A dark Gothic essence emanates from the music, as if swathed in uncertainty bordering on disbelief.
The blending of Gothic hues with rococo pop flavors results in a veneer of surreal and disconcerting sonic aromas akin to tiny hooks of deepening ennui and despair, as Cullen’s asphalt-colored baritone demands an answer to his interrogatory: “Do you believe in love?”
The video depicts Housset wandering the streets of a city, trying to elude the shackles of a marriage drowning in the abyss of neglect. Contrasting colors of dark and light add to the visual projection of gloom, like the corpse of a cloud hovering overhead.
“Do You Believe” is excellent, full of potent simmering harmonics and a discordant rhythm that coalesces with the feel and flow of the music. And Cullen’s starkly wistful tones infuse the song with an entreating storm of energy.