Stay A While (Mistletone)
There are three bands at play inside the Cactus Channel compound these days, but not necessarily all getting equal time.
Hiding up the back at the moment are the slippery funk merchants who on 2013’s Wooden Boy were still hitting some grooves with verve, making a push for the dancefloor and some sweat, without having to resort to hard charging.
Taking an even more prominent position is the outfit making swirling, mood-enhancing, jazz-tinged moments of groove whose goal leans more to soundracking our night moves - both chilled/innocent and shadowy/potentially nefarious – than inspiring those moves.
New to the scene is the crew making surprisingly vulnerable soul music, a feeling not so much enhanced as completely defined by the fragile vocals of Lewis Coleman who makes his presence known almost apologetically even if, as in Leech, the energy around him in brass, bass and drums is pulsing.
In theory, Coleman’s voice should be a weakness, or at least a letdown, no matter what else is going on under/around him. This is not smooth lover up close, a pungent taker, or even a slightly androgynous falsetto making out like making out is just a step closer to heartbreak.
Stay A While however, is an album where the night is late, the machismo has petered out and confessions are being made in the corners of the room and Coleman finds a home.
In Stop Me, he bends to the wind and risks being blown away completely but the fluid guitar is gossamer light but tenaciously clinging. In How People Speak he pokes his nose into the conversation and just stays on as the temperature rises marginally on parping brass and bass.
What Cactus Channel have given up in the manner of funk and obvious, easy fun, they have compensated for with the ambience of slow burns and nights where stasis makes its own inevitability.
If this was the 1970s you might be tempted to call Stay A While a Quaalude album. Maybe in the ‘90s it would have fallen somewhere between narcotic and chill out. In these more respectable times, let’s just call it the night after the night before.
SPOTIFY: LISTEN TO CACTUS CHANNEL – STAY A WHILE, HERE
APPLE MUSIC: LISTEN TO CACTUS CHANNEL – STAY A WHILE, HERE
Cactus Channel are on tour playing
November 24 The Foundry (Brisbane)
November 25 Miami Marketta (Gold Coast)
November 30 Baroque Room (Katoomba)
December 1 Factory Floor (Sydney)
December 2 Transit Bar (Canberra)
December 7 Small Ballroom (Newcastle)
December 8 Festival Of The Sun (Port Macquarie)
December 9 The Homestead (Hobart)
December 14 Karova Lounge (Ballarat)
December 15 Edinburgh Castle (Adelaide)
December 16 The Curtin (Melbourne)