Album Review: Heath Cullen - The Still and the Steep (2013 LP)

In 2012, Heath Cullen left his home in rural South Eastern New South Wales and embarked on a journey across the southern states of the US, in search of stories and songs for his second album, The Still and the Steep. Along the way Cullen assembled a pedigree-backing band, before heading into a Los Angeles studio to record. The resulting album released in part thanks to funds raised by fans via crowdfunding website PledgeMusic.

The Still and the Steep is a mesmerising album, one of hushed eloquence and world weary wisdom. It’s an album that’s tinged with melancholy, but not excessively so. The album has grabbed me from the first listen, whether it be due to Cullen’s half whispered vocal, or the beautiful poetic poignancy of his lyricism.

Likewise the instrumentation plays an equal part in the albums appeal; with some absorbing slow-burn guitar work throughout. Again there is a hushed quality to the instrumentation, it never really threatens to over boil, and rip attention away from the vocal performance, and instead it perfectly accompanies it, bringing an added intensity to the songs.

It’s quite a short album, clocking in at just over 28 minutes; but it’s the sort of album that lingers in the mind. It’s a weighty album, one that packs an emotional punch. Really it seems the ideal length, perfect for listening to in one sitting, which an album of this quality deserves.

Review Score: 8.6/10

The Still and the Steep is in Australian stores now, through Fuse Music Group / Five by Nine Records.