Album Review: Damian Cowell – Disco Machine (2015 LP)

Upon first listen of Damian Cowell’s crowd-funded new album Disco Machine, I didn’t think that there was enough drugs in the world to prepare me for what I was about to hear – but in essence, at its core, it’s a smart, satiric blend of comedy and disco.

“I’m Addicted To Moderation” (with Tim Rogers) is laced with heavy electronica beats – like the kind of sound played in movies when people go on a bender. “I Hope I Get Laid For Christmas” (with Liz Stringer) is all kinds of fun! I hope Damian Cowell’s next crowd-funded project is an Christmas album. That is something I would certainly contribute to!

Damian describes it as, ‘It’s a disco album, but not a really disco album.’ And he’s right. It’s something you can’t really explain in words. It’s weird. Really weird. You’re guaranteed to be scratching your head and thinking “What The Fuck?” over and over (you see what I did just there? Probably not if you have yet to listen to the album.)

Yes, it’s weird. It’s wacky. It’s quirky. But do you expect anything less with songs such as “4D Printer” (with Kathy Lette), “Things I’ve Said In Job Interviews” (with John Safran), “Groovy Toilet” (with Bek Chapman) and “Folk Music Turns Me Into A Fascist” (with Emily Jarrett)?

Then there’s “Jesus Barista Superstar” with a guest who doesn’t want to be named – whom I like to think is Lord Voldemort considering a new career move, and “Epistemophobia” (with Kate Miller-Heidke), which has radio appeal.

There’s a lot of profanity. But it’s not trying to be anything else that you can’t fault for its originality. It’s not going to appeal to everyone – some will love it others will be absolutely baffled. Disco Machine is more of a work of art than just a collection of songs – it’s worth a listen just on that merit alone.

Collaborating with some of Australia’s most recognisable comedians, singers, authors, musicians and television personalities, all hand-chosen by Damian himself, including Tony Martin, Julia Zermiro and Sam Pang.

It’s a post modern take on 70s disco featuring spoken words with catchy choruses and over laying beats. It’s a little bit Eurovision – and there ain’t nothing wrong with that! – with underlining topical themes – if you can get through the album without laughing and missing the important messages.

After listening to this album numerous times, it grew on me and I came to find it overly enjoyable. And if that isn’t the highest compliment, than I don’t know what is. And let’s face it, anything with Shaun Micallef is always going to be a winner!

Review Score: 7.5 out of 10

Disco Machine is available – and on tour! – now!


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