Since he joined Twitter six years ago, around the same time that he joined his first Super Rugby club in Canberra, former professional player Cam Crawford has mixed a little Rugby chat with a lot of chat about American sports, music, films and arts in general.
Now living back in Sydney and working at Morgan Stanley, Cam has taken us up on the offer to provide greater length and detail to his entertainment reviews.
Cut Copy - Haiku From Zero (September, 2017)
★★★★ / ☆☆☆☆☆
Key Tracks: Standing In The Middle Of The Field, No Fixed Destination, Tied To The Weather
Released last month, Cut Copy’s Haiku From Zero is another example of how the Melbourne outfit has continued to evolve over the years without ever truly losing their sound.
Listen to the album straight after Bright Like Neon Love (2004) and you’ll start to get the picture. Thirteen years on from their debut, and Cut Copy’s latest release simply provides a more textured, synth-infused version of its predecessors.
Right from the opener, ‘Standing In The Middle Of The Field’, it’s hard to mistake what or who you’re listening to: the afro beat, the layered keys and then a catchy hook that builds towards the song’s chorus – Cut Copy are back and in fine form once more.
What makes this album interesting enough is the band’s willingness to dip their toes into a couple of different genres throughout the listen.
‘Black Rainbows’ & ‘Memories We Share’ display a strong disco influence while ‘No Fixed Destination’ sees Cut Copy at their poppy, hand-clapping best. ‘Tied To The Weather’, the album’s closer, acts as the perfect down-tempo number to wrap up the album’s journey nicely. When commenting on the album, lead-man Dan Whitford referenced the band’s desire to create a collage of ideas and sounds. Mission accomplished.
What separates Cut Copy from so many of the other electro bands out there is their staying power. Haiku From Zero will offer a sense of nostalgia to older fans while providing new listeners with the perfect blissed-out soundtrack to their Summer. Once again, Cut Copy are vibing, so do yourself a favor and give Haiku From Zero a spin.
Mad Men (2007-2015)
★★★★★ / ☆☆☆☆☆
Starring: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery, Christina Hendricks, January Jones, Alison Brie
Layered strings, a pulsing bass-line and a rollicking drum riff accompany our silhouetted ‘Ad Man’ as he tumbles down the side of a sky-scraper during Mad Men’s introductory credits. He flashes past an array of ad slogans - scantily clad women, holiday destinations, alcoholic beverages and even a perfect-looking, prototypical American family – all before winding up stylishly seated, arm outstretched and with cigarette in hand. 92 times my Wife and I were filled with anticipation as Mad Men’s intro played on our television and we were both terribly sad when the lights were turned on and the party was finally over.
Set in the 1960s and spanning a decade over its 7 seasons, Mad Men is an American period drama that revolves around the life of New York advertising exec, Donald Draper. And, it’s certainly no ordinary life. Through Don, we lay privy to stories fueled by desire, consumer culture, alienation, memory and alcoholism. Often in the wrong but impossible to hate, Don is the protagonist that fuels the show’s momentum.
While Don is certainly one of television’s great characters, what makes Mad Men so enjoyable is the show’s exploration into the story-lines and the complexities of a number of the show’s personalities: Peggy, Pete, Betty, Joan, Roger…the list goes on. Watching Sally’s journey as she literally grows up on screen - under the testing circumstances of Don & Betty’s questionable parenting is particularly enjoyable.
When asked why he picked the 1960s, Mad Men’s creator Matthew Weiner commented on the sixties being a most fascinating time for the world: there was political and global instability, numerous social movements and an overwhelming array of pop-culture. Again, this is where the show finds its strengths. Mad Men’s attention to detail is second to none.
From the set design & costume to how certain news events are woven in to the show’s story-lines, Mad Men’s ability to encapsulate the expressive atmosphere of the sixties is truly remarkable.
Mad Men is not a show that grips you from the very start. Instead, it takes its time to set the scene and lay the foundations for a wonderful journey. So, much like a fine scotch whisky - sip on it, take it slowly and enjoy the ride.
Want to reach out to Cam about his Sights & Sounds article? Hit him up on Twitter; @camcrawford1.