The bittersweet incandescent shimmer of The Cuckoos is deeply rooted in classic rock, dance club funk, and neo-psych art soul, earning the young Austin, Texas band a remarkable reputation in just a few short years. The swampy groove arising from the collision of New Wave romanticism, swirling experimentalism, and loud punky guitars is somehow as perfect as it was improbable, decisively demonstrated on record and stage.
Lead singer Kenneth Frost taught himself to play piano with John Lennon’s “Imagine.” His rich baritone evokes melancholic and romantic icons of different decades, from Jim Morrison to Ian Curtis, with a distinctly modern and forward-thinking flair. He’s an avowed acolyte of Kate Bush, deeply connecting with the British singer’s dedication to ethereal ambiance and vibe.
Guitarist Dave North immersed himself in the similarly lush if more aggressive sounds of The Pixies and Smashing Pumpkins, having cut his teeth as a young guitarist covering Green Day and Metallica. He shares Frost’s love of psychedelia, with a passion for the croon of Nick Cave.
Much of the melody and note choice Eric Ross makes in The Cuckoos comes from his background as a metal guitar player. He fell in love with music at age 11 upon hearing Slayer, but the floodgates truly opened for him at 18, when jazz took the front seat. Switching from guitar to bass in The Cuckoos not only expanded his horizons further, but it allowed the band to evolve from their initial three-piece incarnation into the more fully realized unit they are today.
Despite their relative youth, these young men are quickly amassing a body of work that’s truly awe-inspiring, bravely laying down a definitive pathway of their own choosing as they go.
Whether it’s a killer hook from a Steely Dan song, a rich groove from Vanilla Fudge, the exhaustive catalog Prince or David Bowie, or any number of funky jams from Rick James, George Clinton, The Time, and Funkadelic, the four young men of The Cuckoos are constantly soaking up new sounds, constantly adding songs to a shared group playlist.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the group’s new EP Honeymoon Phases, which is set for release on August 7th. Over the course of six explosive tracks, they delve into a range of sounds and emotions. Opening track “Weekend Lover” is a synth-driven banger that feels like a fiery 80s anthem complete with digitized guitar shredding, while “I’ll Be Your Tramp” brings to mind more contemporary influences like Man Man with its bouncy, carnivalesque groove and sleazy vocals. Songs like “She’s Wearing Lipstick” find the band contrasting the funky slow songs of Prince with the edgy, danceable indie rock of Wolf Parade, and “Lady Casanova” goes deeper into the spooky electro-funk realm. “So Real, So Surreal” explodes with soaring guitar and bouncy synths and drum machines to complement the infectious chorus. The band closes with “Simply Romantic,” a sprawling ballad that manages to avoid being too cheesy as it veers into glam rock and hair metal territory.
Lead singer Kenneth Frost explains the inspiration behind the new EP:
“‘Honeymoon Phases’ is a collection of songs I feel is a continuation of our album ‘I Hate Love.’ It continues a journey through the ups, downs, beginnings, middles, and ends of love. It’s a little more funky, loud, psychedelic, rock and roll, and of course we through a ballad and some pop diddys in there.
Although we could have released them together as a double album, we decided the two groups of songs have a slightly different flavor. I feel ‘Honeymoon Phases’ has a more uplifting, bittersweet goodbye quality to it. Almost as if ‘I Hate Love’ was going through an experience, and ‘Honeymoon Phases’ is looking back on that experience in new light. Maybe some bad memories jump back at you here and there along the way. But, in the end, you realize it was all just lessons to be learned so you can do better next time.”