Berlin-based experimental art-rock collective, Cautionary Tales, unveils their self-titled debut album on August 18, 2023. Helmed by frontman Will Marshall, whose commanding baritone voice steers the ship, the band is an amalgamation of diverse influences ranging from contemporary art-rock, Greek mythology, modernist poetry, to electronic music, indie pop, and post-punk.
The name “Cautionary Tales” alludes to the ancient storytelling tradition exploring the repercussions of our actions. This ethos permeates their music, threading surreal narratives into a sonic tapestry that transitions from spacious and atmospheric to bitingly aggressive.
The collective, consisting of Karl Weber, Martyn Matthews, Taylor Mallo, and David Binnie, with collaborative contributions from Kyle Hussa-Lietz, transcends categorization. They meld post-rock compositions, garage-rock grooves, and trip-hop beats into a captivating musical canvas, reflecting Will’s darkly comic storytelling. Will Marshall defines their sound as “literary art-rock,” a label that stretches beyond conventional post-punk categorizations. Influenced by a diverse range of artists such as Swans, the Bad Seeds, and Radiohead, Cautionary Tales marries elements of confessional poetry and black comedy, akin to a Coen Brothers film.
Drawing from post-modernist literature and magical realism, their music is an embodiment of unconventional perspectives, exemplified by works like John Gardner’s “Grendel” and Cormac McCarthy’s writings. With roots in Aotearoa, NYC, and now Berlin, their collective experiences and influences craft a unique artistic perspective. Cautionary Tales invites listeners on a profound sonic journey, redefining boundaries and defying expectations. Through their fusion of literary themes, diverse influences, and a touch of dark humor, they forge a musical identity that is uniquely and unmistakably their own.