Andy Bull
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Andy Bull

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia | MAJOR

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia | MAJOR
Band Pop Alternative




"Live Review - 13/09/11"

The second artist for the evening Andy Bull took the stage suddenly and managed to change the room completely. The audience was reverent and silent for Emma Louise but Bull, with his charm and witty banter on stage lightened up the atmosphere. Not to say his songs aren’t driven by the same strong emotions, ‘Dog’ with its carnival-esque piano riff is depiction of living with depression that manages to be enjoyable to listen without dampening the mood. Bull and his band were a joy to watch on stage, obviously enjoying playing together, the ‘Phantom Pains’ EP was made with the help of guest artists, some of who performed with Bull onstage, it was refreshing to see an artist embrace a collaborative attitude to performing. The guest appearances from Tara Symonds and Hungry Kids of Hungary’s Kane Mazlin heightened Bull’s performance rather than overshadowed it. Bull’s music is infectious, melodic and fun without sacrificing emotional depth and his unique voice is a point of difference to many artists performing today. - News Unlimited

"EP Review - 30/09/10"

Sydney singer-songwriter Andy Bull presents a painfully honest and lyrically gripping collection of songs on his new record The Phantom Pains EP. I admire artists who have the ability to combine otherwise emotionally heavy lyrics with upbeat music that makes the listener not feel incredibly depressed upon hearing it. This EP is testament to Andy Bull’s capability as an artist belonging in this group.

The sounds featured throughout the EP have an organic and pure quality about them and, blended with Andy’s astonishing vocal range, we see the step away from the soul-pop style that formed his earlier work. The Phantom Pains EP features not only Andy Bull’s dabbling in some indie acoustic and sounds reminiscent of 1960s folk-pop, but great collaborations with other Australian artists including Lisa Mitchell on the track Dog, and The Hungry Kids of Hungary on Last Waltz.

The song from which the EP takes its name is darkly humorous in dealing with a sense of longing and absence one feels – a yearning for something lost or unobtainable- a phantom pain. On the face level, Phantom Pains details the story of a man who cuts off his hand in order to atone for past mistakes but finds he hasn’t really achieved this sense of atonement and is simply left in pain.

The exploration of a human’s darker emotions with a quirky sense of musical optimism is seen throughout the entire EP. The Lisa Mitchell collaboration especially, is a three and a half minute piano-dominated jaunt describing what Andy Bull states in his blog to be ”the blues, or the doldrums…”, an explanation when one is in ”an emotional or spiritual funk”.

Production wise, this EP is rather simple in its arrangement; images of Andy and his friends sitting in his house jamming together and coming up with music fit for a new EP without much effort at all are almost instantly conjured. With help from not only Lisa Mitchell and the Hungry Kids of Hungary, but also Little Red and members of Deep Sea Arcade, The Phantom Pains EP demonstrates Andy Bull’s development and creative drive as a musician in the production of this polished record.

It seems like many artists these days are opting to produce a few EPs before launching the debut album. The quick succession of EPs can often establish the careers and popularity of these artists before the album is released to the public and in Andy Bull’s case, he’s on his way. - The Dwarf

"EP Review - 13/10/10"

It’s been roughly a year since Sydney-sider Andy Bull’s debut record We’re Too Young hit store shelves. The weeks that followed were an undoubtedly confounding experience for any pop enthusiast. It was obvious that a distinct lilt coupled with a prevailing knack for a memorable pop hook could have lit the fuse for Bull, signifying the explosion of a new talent. At least that’s what made sense. But songs such as Young Man and Small Town fell, rather remarkably so, on deaf ears.

Fortunately, Bull has returned and has produced another brilliant offering that again threatens to score due recognition. The EP, titled The Phantom Pains signifies a sonic evolution for the singer-songwriter, building well upon the keyed sensibilities and foundations laid throughout his debut. It’s a cliche, certainly, but Bull has matured into an impressively intricate artist, his new compositions bristling with life like a Catherine wheel firework.

The instrumentation ultimately paves the way for a welcomed thematic shift. Bull explains, “I am discovering, perversely, the joy in articulating that ever-present emotional darkness.” The EP’s first track, Dog, does well to confirm as much. The introduction to The Phantom Pains proves an angst-ridden carousel depicting a persistent emotional rut, pedaled onward with the help lumbering pianos and organs. Songstress Lisa Mitchell features throughout the song, a sweet cameo in what becomes a display of Bull’s unique pop wit.

Last Waltz features the Brisvegas boys Hungry Kids Of Hungary and shifts the tempo, resembling a dreamy, joyous roadtrip. Meanwhile, the title track excels in twisting, turning and evolving, defying convention. It’s the one song on the EP that at once seems poised to disappoint – predictable and, perhaps disposable – but Bull turns everything you’ve heard on it’s head before arriving at a crashing, impassioned close.

My Street is an outstanding addition to the EP, detailing Bull’s discovery that an adversary has moved to a house only minutes from his own. It’s a blunt lament, an emotional conundrum detailed and executed with admirable restraint and one genuinely feels for Bull if the poetry were formed from personal experience. From there, the sensational retro-chic of Nothing To Lose and the emphatic Work Is A Slow Way To Die bring the release to its conclusion in spectacular fashion.

The Phantom Pains EP is, without question, both an enormously enjoyable evolution for the singer-songwriter and a sign that the best from Bull is on its way. The man still writes a mean pop song, wielding melody effortlessly in a show of uncanny singer-songwriter flare, again demonstrating Bull’s talents appropriately, but the game has changed – and for the better. Predictably, The Phantom Pains EP proves a starter, a delicious morsel of those musical delicacies to come. Highly recommended.
- Faster Louder

"Live Review - 04/09/11"

By the time Andy Bull and his band-mates set up their instruments and were ready to kick off, I had a look around at the people gathered tonight. A decent mix of people of different ages and, while Jive had by no means sold out, there was a comfortable sized crowd. Performing songs of The Phantom Pains EP, as the tour name would suggest, Bull once again proved to me why he is being touted as one of the country’s more interesting and talented vocalists and songwriters. Now touring and making music with guitarist Alex Bennison and Dave Jenkins Jr, it was clear from watching them play tonight that Bull and these two definitely click well as a band. Throwing banter back and forth with each other and the audience, it just seemed like we were watching three mates messing about and playing their music; there were no egos or rock and roll wankery that you can sometimes come across as a punter, Bull and co made an atmosphere really comfortable to be a part of. While his cover of the Tears For Fears song ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ and ‘Last Waltz’ (performed with Spring Skier and Larissa from 20th Century Graduates) remained my own personal highlights of the set, Bull also performed some new material that he and his band have been working on recently, which went down well.

Playing a few more dates before the tour ends, Andy Bull gave us a night of great tunes and stories, both of which I was expecting after having seen him in action a few times before. He seems to improve vocally with each show and was clearly comfortable with interacting with the audience tonight as the headlining performer. - The AU Review

"Live Review - 05/09/11"

The stage was now set for Andy Bull to take his well-deserved headline slot. Andy and his band received a very warm welcome from the crowd and instantly Andy’s charisma shone through. He started by introducing himself and his band, and had the crowd smiling and bedazzled almost instantly. Opening with ‘My Street’, the crowd started to dance and bop along immediately.

Andy’s songs in themselves have a very strong dynamic, where each is almost cabaret in the sense that it will never follow a typical musical formula, something which can surprise and amaze those who might not have heard Andy’s music before.

On top of very strong musical skills, Andy has a very strong and charismatic stage presence, always joking with band mates and often telling stories to the crowd. This was apparent just before he performed ‘Dog’, giving an explanation of how the song came about and how he tried to save a chihuahua from certain death.

Aside from dog stories, Andy also told the crowd how the group played Triple J’s ‘Like a Version’, leading to the group’s cover of the Tears for Fears classic – ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’. It was no doubt a treat for punters to witness Andy doing his own rendition of the song.

Towards the end of the show Andy was joined by members of 20th Century Graduates and Spring Skier on stage to play the crowd favourite ‘Last Waltz’. This collaboration was very well received by the crowd and a great way to finish the show. However, the show could not finish without an encore, and Bull finished off the night with a ballad, ‘Work is a Slow Way to Die’, from his upcoming EP.

Andy Bull is more than a musician or performer, he and his band are an experience. There is a well justified reason why Andy is critically acclaimed and gaining much popularity on the Australian music circuit. With the release of Phantom Pains it seems that it could be quite a big year ahead for Andy, hopefully it will not be too long before we see him and his band of merry men on an Adelaide stage again soon. - Tone Deaf


The Phantom Pains EP
(EP released September 2010)

We're Too Young
(Album released August 2009)

Small Town Girl
(EP released September 2008)



Sydney’s Andy Bull didn’t become the “songwriter’s songwriter” by accident. His career has continued to incline since the release of his impressive debut album – We’re Too Young – in 2009. A sprawling, imaginative collection of songs, the album very quickly earned the young singer critical acclaim, an ever-swelling fan base and, of course, that aforementioned reputation amongst his contemporaries.

That reputation was certainly put to the test less than a year later when he returned refreshed and sonically reinvigorated with a six-track EP called Phantom Pains, a release that would casually redefine the conventions he had already established for himself. Recording the EP in a single room with no separation between instruments, Andy and his long-time producer Tony Buchen have discarded many of the formalities of the studio in favour of a raw sound that speaks to the vulnerability implicit in Andy’s lyrics.

Phantom Pains may have proven to be Bull’s musical coming-of-age: “A lot of the things I used to be very concerned with, musically and personally, started to fall away, and continue to fall away, like a period of correction. I guess I like this idea of a necessary correction” says Bull, who’s elegant lyrics reveal a surprising melancholia, as on the title track, a story about a man who cuts off his own hands to atone for a shameful past, or ‘Dog’, a song about killing a menacing dog who silently stalks him, (a song which also happens to feature the haunting vocal flourishes of his old touring buddy Lisa Mitchell).

The Phantom Pains EP is Andy’s most personal and exciting work thus far, and his musical contemporaries seem to agree, judging by the impressive list of friends who stopped by his house while he was recording it just to ‘do their bit’ and be a part of it all - a list that includes luminaries Lisa Mitchell, Little Red, Adrian Deutsch, Hungry Kids of Hungary and Deep Sea Arcade (whose bassist Nick Weaver and drummer Carlos Adura have become Bull’s rhythm section). “I can’t believe my luck; it all just sort of happened.” says Bull.

Andy spent the next 12 months touring the country, first with his new friends in Hungry Kids of Hungary and then a sold-out headline tour of his own. The shows demonstrated a sound, or a direction even, that indicates just where this path of his might lead next. Currently tinkering in the studio both on his own and with ARIA Award-winning producer Paul McKercher (Josh Pyke, Bertie Blackman, Papa Vs Pretty, Sarah Blasko, You Am I, Pete Murray, Eskimo Joe), it’s unclear from the outside where Andy will go next, but you can almost be guaranteed of one thing – it’s going to be brilliant!