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Cautionary Tales - Single Review: Women

15 Jun 2023 // A review by taffynz

One of the things I love about this job is that music is such a giver. I listened to the opening first few bars of Cautionary Tales' new single release Women and I was nodding me old head along with the sinister, wonderfully balanced intro - then vocalist/keys man Will Marshall kicked in with his opening lines.

OOOOO. EMMMM. GEEEEE! Baritone bordering on bass. As perfectly married to the genre they are looking to eke out as it could be, this vocal sends shudders down the spine. Horror stories, Goth front-men, post-punk, the darkest of the New Romantic acts of 1980 to 82, the chap from Disturbed. All of it in an instant, cracked a smile on my dial to brighten up the gloomiest The Damned jam session Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible and Rat Scabies ever held.

Backed by fellow Cautionary Tale Tellers Karl Weber (guitar, backing vocals), Martyn Matthews (synthesizers, Rhodes, Hammond), Taylor Mallo (bass), and David Binnie (drums), these guys have delivered some truly definitive art-rock. A 6 minute release, it gets you and you don't feel like it was anywhere near as long.

I know the band is split between Aotearoa and Berlin. This is a sound straight out of the basement clubs in that oh so Bohemian-underbellied European hub. I don't have any production info, but I can tell you it's extremely high quality mixing and mastering. The band knows its instruments, and Marshall is as chilling as he is compelling. His personality a la vocalist reaches out to you through the headphones or speakers, and you can feel an almost tangible menacing presence scowling at you from the darkened stage. Awesomely nasty!

Not to take anything away from the lyrical content. Swinging from Athena to Dido to Marie Curie (no, not Mariah Carey!), Jean d'Arc to Patti Smith (heroine of mine), the content is of powerful and tragic women who have left their names in the annals of folklore, be it via history or myth. You can find the lyrics on their sparse but appropriately so website.

This is dark music. This is music of the night. Off the beaten track and the saccharine lights of the main drag. This is somewhere else. A place inhabited by people avoiding armour-plated Wesley Snipes, or celebrating the return of Kiefer Sutherland's bleached mullet and earrings. You don't ask what's in the murky glass the bartender just handed you. You hunker down in the dark and listen to someone singing mournfully. Someone delivering you the deepest Cautionary Tales.

Kneel down ye sinners.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Cautionary Tales

Cautionary Tales is an experimental art-rock collective, based in Berlin via Aotearoa and NYC. Fronted by Will Marshall, a songwriter with a swaggering baritone, Cautionary Tales work with a palette borrowed from contemporary art-rock, Greek myth, modernist poetry, the weirder edges of electronic music, indie pop and post-punk.

The phrase “cautionary tales” describes one of the fundamental types of story-telling; the story that tells us “what not to do”. With roots in folklore and myth, these stories are found in everything from fables, to epic Greek poetry, to modern horror films, exploring the myriad ways life can go terribly or comically wrong.

Rooting their story-telling in this ancient form, Cautionary Tales' debut is a surrealist blend of disparate musical influences. Often spacious and sometimes bitingly aggressive, they move seamlessly between post-rock compositions, tight garage-rock grooves, and deep trip-hop, painting vivid backdrops to Will’s blackly comic narratives.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Cautionary Tales


Cautionary Tales
Year: 2023
Type: Album

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