Latest album from Melbourne’s Cousin Tony’s Band New Firebird, New Romancer, is a bold and brazen take on the classic heartbreak record. The album peaks and falls just like any other, but Rose has constructed an entirely new landscape that floats elegantly between genres of indie, pop, disco, and space-rock.
Produced alongside Matthew Neighbour (The Avalanches, Matt Corby), New Romancer manages to encapsulate the murky post-breakup period in a way that is both eloquent and relatable. First single 'Love' is Heartbreak is a to-the-point trailer of what the album has to offer - it’s upbeat and laden with pop hooks, all of which were written in total contrast to the lyrics. It’s these curious joys that make the band’s primary singer and songwriter Lachy Rose so unique in his newfound style.
The band, now two records in, have been on this artistic adventure since the release of their first single in 2016. Watching the journey unfold through albums and EPs has helped document both the personal and musical maturity of Rose, who seems to have outdone himself once again. Standout track 'Joy' is a stunning example of Rose’s ability to write stripped back pieces, one which many consider audibly close to the likes of Nick Cave.
'Hot Pink', which comes in just past the halfway mark, is a rose-tinted reflection of relationships past. It’s a delightfully pop-tinged number that looks back at the best parts of what would become the worst times. The track is perhaps the ultimate embodiment of New Romancer as a whole, not only capturing the essence of the record’s very prominent colour theme, but also succinctly expresses Rose’s unique intrigue into all aspects of love and heartbreak.
On the whole, New Romancer provides a fresh take on old classics - an adventurous exploration of emotions and themes under the bright shine of a new light. It’s an album to both cry and dance to (perhaps at the same time). It’s a rollercoaster of highs and lows, taking turns in the places you least expect it. But most importantly, it’s a stunning release from a band so criminally underrated, and absolutely worth the listen.
"And the award for most glorious new band goes to Cousin Tony's Brand New Firebird" - Dave Le'aupepe, Gang of Youths