Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird Release Sophomore Album New Romancer

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Much loved Melbourne chameleons Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird have just unleashed their second album into the world. As distinctive as it is diverse; as idiosyncratic as it is musical, New Romancer is a record that shows no interest in passing trends or the prevailing landscape around it. It is its own microcosm. Somehow both more adventurous and more cohesive than last year’s debut LP Electric Brown, these beautifully crafted songs have an air of both timelessness and uniqueness about them. 

The vision for New Romancer could only have come from one person: Cousin Tony frontperson and songwriter Lachlan Rose. Written in the wake of a painful breakup, at face value it seems like a heartbreak album. 

But scratch beneath the surface a little and it’s obvious there’s much more going on here. In an interview this week for RTRFM, Rose explained that the album “explores the void that’s created after someone removes themselves from your life. A journey of decision-making in the pursuit of some higher, emotional transcendence rather than anger and regret."

The music reflects this dichotomy – several songs pair devastating lyrics with highly danceable grooves, including previously released singles ‘Love is Heartbreak’ and ‘Best Face to London’. As Rose puts it “emotion and movement are so intrinsically linked and I think all these songs explore that relationship in some way”

Recorded partly in Melbourne and partly in LA, the album was produced with care and precision by longterm collaborator Matthew Neighbour (The Avalanches, Matt Corby). From the Bibio-inspired haze of ‘Next Life Yeah’ to the soulfulness of ‘Flower’ to the experimental pop of ‘No Surprise’ to the sugar rush of ‘Hot Pink’, there’s so much to explore here. Perhaps the most moving song on the record is its centrepiece and current single ‘Joy’, a stunning piano ballad reminiscent of some of the best songs by Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen. Rose says he may be more proud of this song than any he has released to date.

With an Australian tour announcement just around the corner and another overseas trip planned for next year to follow up their recent UK jaunt, now would be a good time to familiarise yourself with this remarkable record before you catch the ‘bird on the road

Nick Langley