ALBUM REVIEW: “Blue No More” by Gabriella Cohen

I couldn’t finish 2022 without reviewing one of my favourite records – “Blue No More” by Gabriella Cohen – which came out earlier in the year. For the longest time I have been trying to find my entry point into how I can do justice to such a fantastic piece of art. It’s no secret that I have long been an admirer of Gabriella’s art and music. It is a rare commodity in the ocean of scene bands and the big dick energy of Australian Independent Rock to find an artist who thinks outside the arrested development of cosplay art and music that pretends to be of of substance but merely ends up being something stale and lacking in nutritional value. There are a lot of music industry bank accounts filling up with silent donations from wealthy parents so that some humans can buy their credibility and a seat at the table, but Gabriella Cohen has always been the antidote to that kind of independent artist.

To quote from my review of her single “Frangelico Dreams” in 2021:

“The music that Gabriella Cohen has been making since her 2016 debut album “Full Closure and No Details” has remained as some of the best rock music produced by a modern artist. For those who have been paying attention from the beginning, it is no secret that Cohen has a strong aesthetic that challenges the sometimes ordinary dynamics of independent rock n roll. It’s music that is being communicated from the counterculture and it aches in both defiance of and due to the complicated nature that is our daily existence.

Living outside of the requirements of what is popular has allowed Cohen to grow beyond the simple limitations of genre rules leaving her sound the true expression of her imagination. Other humans may claim that an artists imagination is always on display but there is a big difference between claiming to be expressing honestly and actually witnessing an artist serve their muse and be true to it. When you hear it, also remembering the golden rule of objectivity, you can’t forget it and Cohen has always been one of the best modern underground music superhero’s inspiring us all to be better and go beyond the fickle structured routines of normality.

Like all true “voices of a generation” Cohen is her own genre and although there are influences, flourishes and frequencies that remind you of other artists, it is never at the risk of her own authenticity meaning her extreme originality exists in a peerless realm. It’s poetic, psychedelic and dripping with pop skills. There is a mood and atmosphere that cycles through all of the ancient forms of pain while leaning into the joy of sunshine soaked melodies that extend a hand to the deepest part of your sadness and massages the hurt until you collapse into a state of unified grief and emotional exhaustion. The sound is both relaxed and dissonant, light and shade, whispered and screamed, political and spiritual, glide and attack but most of all it is forever evolving to new levels of artistry.”

Photo by Dane Beesley

That is the best way for me to lead into my review of “Blue No More” because it helps set up why Gabriella Cohen is such an important artist.

All across this record you can hear echoes of McCartney and Wilson with Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen’s poetic phrasing dripping from each melodic twist and turn. Gabriella Cohen understands the depth and artistic value of music history and isn’t a victim of the nostelgia that so often stains other artists attempting to weave in such iconic influences into their sound. The production also falls into this category where in it serves the song as opposed to some trendy “now” aesthetic. The music is expertly captured and treated with respect giving it space to communicate and reveal layers of emotion with each new listen. Certain angles showcase the dirt and dust of the lo-fi tradition but it isn’t anchored to the trappings of this sound as the songs still beam bright with a big budget sheen that enhances the overall listening experience. The dynamics of the songs and the the live feel aren’t squashed by the compression of this new pop song production and each moment feels like a room of human beings are playing this for the first time. Each performance feels in the moment and untouched by the self-doubt of meeting an industry key performance indicator for hit songs and being on brand. That lack of interference make these songs and album like a sort of endangered species as they are allowed to live in captivity with their environment being untouched by the pollution of commercial real estate developments.

One of the real joys however is hearing how in debt these songs and this album is to Paul McCartney and the music he made with Wings in the 1970’s. It’s easy to pledge allegiance to John Lennon – that will always win you a seat at the credibility table, especially if getting the nod from the wheeze of self-appointed boy geniuses who think that taking acid in 2022 is still a revolutionary act and measure of their depth, you know the kind of human who is a tangle of cultural cliches and opinions that has adequately surrounded themselves with “yes” disciples who continue to enable their bad behaviour and lack of character. These people are the kind of humans that for some reason believe the myths and are totally controlled by the media they claim to be boycotting, basically I am referring to that asshole who before the “Get Back” documentary actually referred to people’s partners as “Yoko” in their secret misogyny meetings with the other hyenas when polite society was looking the other way and who now pretends they didn’t by wearing such post-modern t-shirts as “Yoko is my Favourite Beatle” – in other words, fucking imposters (said Eddie).

Photo by Meisha Lowe

Luckily we also live in a world where we can adore all of the individual and collective genius provided by the Fab Four. This is something Gabriella Cohen knows all too well and it is a joy to come across. Sure there are some nods to John, George and Ringo but it is the Artistry of Paul that shines brightest on the “Blue No More” track list. I hear the sparseness of “Wild Life” mixed with the groove and experimental pop sound of “Wings at The Speed of Sound” spilling into the weirdness of “McCartney II” all expertly borrowed and repurposed through the star power of Gabriella Cohen’s creative intellect. It is rare to hear a modern artist use the underrated sounds of Wings so being the McCartney super fan that I am, this will always get a full nod of approval from my end – Wings – fuck yes what a wonderful band they were.

Photo by Matteo Grasso

All throughout this year I’ve spoken a lot about the idea of sadness and loss and how it relates to the artists and music I’ve been reviewing. Through my own experiences of these complex emotions I have been able to possibly offer a different entry point for people to the artists and music being discussed. It’s why the reviews have been limited to art that has been part of my own journey through 2022 and the highs and lows I’ve had to personally navigate. Perhaps it is me maturing and becoming better acquainted with sadness and loss and the role they play in our existence or maybe it’s just me finding resonance with other creative humans who find themselves in that tangle of trying to find a way out of the darkness and into some kind of cathatric form of light. The type of place where you surive all of that spiritual, psycological and physical pain and arrive at a state of clarity and peace. It’s not a coincidence that I end my year by reviewing an artist who got me inspired back in 2021 to actually jump back on board this heavy and weird train and to offer my voice and my passion for art and music to the wider community so that I can at least help give my point of view on art and music that has saved my life.

The very aptly titled “Blue No More” has an array of stories about that battle with sadness and loss and how the wrestle with self-doubt is almost an accepted part of the human experience if you choose to be someone who feels deeply and chases a path that most resist. Some of us are lucky to find our purpose and some of us aren’t. Being creative and pursuing the muse is not for the faint of heart and the journey to express oneself honestly and without compromise is a long and hard road to navigate. It can be agonising yet rewarding especially when you watch other lesser evolved entities dilute your originality and cash in on your bravery to create without fear and become empty calorie superstars in the process, the kind of star who can be consumed and fully digested in 30 seconds or less. These fake diversions which are mass produced by hyena breeding gatekeepers distract us from those rare talents who were anointed by the spooky feeling of an unexplained sadness and unless you live inside that frequency it can be hard to find these rare humans who make art for arts sake.

Gabriella Cohen is one of the rare anointed ones who has built a legacy on being someone who is on an eternal quest to serve the muse. With “Blue No More” we hear an artist going deeper and expanding their sound to include the full array of emotions one must travel in order to find the joy amongst their suffering. There is a power to being able to write about the full scope of pain and sadness and how joy is equally attached to its strange rhythmic pulse in the same way that silence is just as important to noise and darkness must exist within the same realm as light. You can’t design that kind of pure expression, you can only feel it and emote the deep sigh that haunts your search for melody. It is the most real and raw a human being can get and all across this record Gabriella Cohen demonstrates just how incredibly in tune she is with her muse. How lucky are we as fans to get to experience it and as a result have the bravery to explore the depths of our own sadness in order to find some joy.

Photo by Sara Yael

Words by Daniel James Newton

Album Credits:

released January 21, 2022

Frangelico Dreams Recorded and co-produced by Gabriella Cohen and Sam Cromack *

Gtr and vocals – Gabriella Cohen
Guitar, bass & drums- Sam Cromack

I Just Got So High Recorded and co-produced by Gabriella Cohen & Sam Cromack at Prawn Records *

Guitar, bass & vocals- Gabriella Cohen
Guitar, drums & BV’s- Sam Cromack

Just For The Summer Recorded and co-produced by Gabriella Cohen and Sam Cromack at Prawn Records *

Guitar and Vocals- Gabriella Cohen
Guitar, bass & BV’s- Sam Cromack

But I Wanted To – Recorded by Gabriella Cohen, Matthew Malone, Xavier Butler at Chaos Magic Studios

Guitar & vocals- Gabriella Cohen
Bass & guitar – Jess Ferronato
Drums- Luke Hanson
BV Girls – Billie Star, Grace Cuell, Kate Dillon
Organ – Matthew Malone
Claps and clicks- Xavier Butler

Son Of A Gun – Produced by Gabriella Cohen.
Recorded at Easy Machine Records
Piano & vocals – Gabriella Cohen
Bass- JB Paterson
BV’s- JB Paterson, Rob Longstaff, Sara Yael, Kate Dillon, Lisa Raquel, Gabriella Cohen

Produced by Gabriella Cohen and Recorded at Easy Machine Recordings.
Guitar & piano & vocals- Gabriella Cohen
Bass & piano- JB Paterson

Recorded and played and produced by Gabriella Cohen at Crystal Waters.
Featuring Gecko, Cicada, and big long breath.

24 Sexton Street
Recorded and played and produced by Gabriella Cohen at Crystal Waters.

Blue No More
Recorded and played and produced by Gabriella Cohen at Crystal Waters.
‘Childrens’ Party’ – Balaclava Library, 2019
‘Party Scene’- Gideon’s Birthday, The Westbury Hotel, 2019
Guest appearance by whales and ambulances.

Recorded and played and produced by Gabriella Cohen at Crystal Waters.
Bass interlude by Arun Roberts in Seymour, 2017.
Trombone by Ben Young.

All songs except for the ones with * were mixed by Gabriella Cohen & Marly Lüske of Alchemix Studios
All songs mastered by Marly Lüske of Alchemix Studios.

* Songs mixed by Sam Cromack

Go on the full Journey and listen to Gabriella Cohen’s two previous album masterpieces

Useful Links:

Gabriella Cohen

Dane Beesley

Sara Yael

Matteo Grasso

Heavy and Weird acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work, the Jagera and Turrbal people. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

Thank You for your support and please go and support these artists that I share – don’t just stream them – buy tickets to their concerts when you can, buy their merchandise and buy their albums on a physical format – respect the artists you consume by paying for it


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