by Thomas Bedward April 09, 2021
When we first stumbled upon the work of Cullis, there wasn’t much guidance to be found. An artist with no social media pages, and only the barest of biographies available, he’s an artist who seems happy to let the music take centre stage. For many, that’s exactly how it should be, no shameless bravado, no over the top personas, just good music with passion and a strong message behind it.
Even when releasing his debut single, ‘Mr Apathy’, the fanfare remained at its core essentials, with the video released quietly on YouTube with the caption reading simply, “Original unsigned music”, along with the credits and a warm invitation of “See you next week.” While it might go against this understated arrival, we thought that a song as good as ‘Mr Apathy’ deserved some fanfare, and so we intend to shine a spotlight firmly upon it.
When speaking about the song, Cullis gave us a few short, but valuable glimpses into Cullis outlook and the track’s inspirations, explaining, “Many of us are dissatisfied with life despite being relatively well off materially. ‘Mr Apathy’ is such a man; frustrated, addicted and depressed. In this song he's offered an alternative; 'Help somebody' he's advised, 'it will do wonders for your self-esteem!' There's peace to be found in less of me and more of you.”
Musically, the single echoes this sentiment perfect, fading into view with the textured strum of an acoustic guitar that slowly, but surely expands into a charming central melody. As the melody takes hold, it's bolstered by a little trickle of piano keys that add depth, while bringing their own light, and in the distance a gentle percussion track bends and flows, pulling you deeper into the soothing vibes and gentle sounds. As Cullis’ vocals arrive alongside the music, they do so at with a smooth, relaxed pace, not quite sung, not quite spoken, but somewhere in-between. Armed with a rustic, easy flow, Cullis’ introduces the world of ‘Mr Apathy’ with a simple “Good morning Mr Apathy, how are we today?” and it’s there that the lessons really begin.
As the song continues, Cullis brings into questions greed, poverty, and what really matters in life, shaping the song with his lyrics like “when what you call your liberty is just the freedom to agree, and what you think is beautiful is what you're told it's meant to be” and “when you've got an open mind but it's confined to your society, when we live in a free world with one in four in poverty.” It’s a thought-provoking moment in the track, and Cullis has done a wonderful job in hiding the heavier tones within a more heartfelt refrain, conjuring up a sound and style that is both effective, engaging, and effortlessly entertaining.
With over 1,000 streams on YouTube already, it's so easy to hear the value and passion within ‘Mr Apathy’. With an overarching sense of freedom and a relaxing, uplifting sound that echoes throughout every part of the song, ‘Mr Apathy’ is arguably one of the most expressive and influential indie tracks that you’ll hear this year.
You can stream the new single above alongside the official music video and be sure to keep an eye out for Cullis’ upcoming album, ‘Small World’, from which this track is taken.
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