2A/T3 by CullRelease date: August 26, 2017
Label: Self Released
On the surface of it, Wrexham may seem like yet another austerity bitten town, industry torn away and a high street struggling to cope with the demands of a voracious capitalist internet. Scratch beneath the surface though, and you get a thriving hotbed of artistic talent which offers a two fingered salute to those who would suggest that the town is dead. Indeed, already the home of music industry shebang Focus Wales, this yearly soiree only serves to remind us that the endeavours of bands such as Gallops and Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the prodigious music beneath the facade.
Cull carry on in the tradition of those aforementioned bands in that they offer a no compromise take on their artistic experiments. It’s no coincidence that they rise from the same “scene”, where genre boundaries are relatively forgotten, and the only underlying principle is to remain down to earth. A particularly Welsh trait, this urge to be in it “for a laugh” often diverts away from what is some actually remarkable talent. It’s a disarming trick which serves to elevate the music when you finally get to hear it.
Taking their cues from early krautrock, 80’s psychedelia and the ramshackle DIY sound of The Fall, Cull are an intriguing prospect. 2A/T3 rushes along on a heady mix of jangly repetitive guitars, transcendent melodies, and wayward vocals which serve more to colour the music than to offer any particular notion of song-writing. It’s a cunning trick and one that keeps you engaged all the way through. You can sense that hidden history of Welsh psychedelia pushing through, but there is also a keen push to move away from that history. Gorky’s and SFA may provide the gateway, but here it is mixed with a much broader palette. It also retains a peculiar sense of the mountains, space, and fluid. It’s organic, flowing, and exalting.
Of course much of this has been done before but that’s not to take away from the passion that Cull put into their music. An almost symbiotic relationship between the instruments overlays that sense of deja vu, and twists it into something new. This is the magic of the band, and as they strike up yet another bass driven drive into space, the repetitive nature of the music becomes a soundtrack for every acid trip you have ever taken. It starts with ‘Horses (and fields)’, reaches an almost peak on ‘Dacre’ before breaking out into all manner of weirdness. That repetitiveness eventually returns for closing track ‘9 Brudenell Avenue’, an almost bastardisation of the mini-synth sound of Pulp during their Gift days, which then evolves into a glistening triumph of glorious spaced out krautrock.
That binding together of so many touchstones in music makes this album such a remarkable listen. It’s comfortable enough to let you in, but as we scratched beneath the surface of the town earlier, here one single scratch reveals a band of infinite possibilities. In what has been an infinitely short time, the band have revealed a debut album of wonderful textures, exciting horizons, and most of all, tripper interiors. It’s psychedelia in full bloom, and whilst there may be a sense of down to earthness about the band members, collectively they press all the buttons for lift off into space. With the psychedelic scene fighting to regain its underground status after a heady few years, Cull may well find themselves pushing at the forefront of the new crop of bands who are emerging. These are exciting times both for the scene and the band.