There are so many ways to record an album these days that it seems ancient to think about how they were made in some of the more golden eras of music. What Michael Cullen has been able to create using tape machines to record his album True Believer is about as old school as it gets. The digital age has brought upon such an easy and efficient way to make albums but that can be rather impersonal. Recording tracks on tape is no easy feat, but the quality of sound and the way it brings out Cullen’s baritone voice is well worth the hassle and team effort.
True Believer is hard to categorize into one genre. Cullen is a very gifted musician and lyricist, so it is easy and somewhat necessary for him dabble in a variety of different sounds. The album opener, “Black Dog,” sounds like a lighter version of a Tom Waits track. Other influences can be heard in the form of Nick Cave, The Beatles and Elvis Costello. Throughout the rest of the disc, listeners can find adult-alternative, indie rock, punk, goth and an almost startling vocal delivery in that of Cullen. The album is more interesting than confusing and it’ very easy to hear how a couple decades of experience has made him into a stronger, more polished and yet darker musician.