by Stuart Matchett - dig, ABC website, 16 August 2007
Not a lot of 'space sounds' on this lucky 13th solo album from Melbourne singer songwriter Stephen Cummings. There's plenty of good songs and some great singing. As on the last few of his albums, he's always willing to try new styles.
While his songs are usually about love they are always from a loser's point of view, which sounds a bit melancholy but... Stephen Cummmings albums are always worthwhile for both the songs and the performance. He's supported here by his usual crew of excellent musicians - the same people who appear on Paul Kelly's records.
Space Travel: 4.5 stars
In The Big Room: 3.5 stars
by Iain Shedden - The Australian, 25 August 2007
ONE wee detail that isn't mentioned on the cover of Stephen Cummings's first DVD is that the lovely Forum Theatre in Melbourne where the live performance takes place -- and where the singer used to watch Viking movies when he was wagging school, he tells us -- is occupied only by him, two fellow musicians and the technical crew. Did he forget to invite the public? Perhaps he did ask and they stayed home to watch RockWiz. No, it must be because the grand old theatre suits Cummings's melancholic, delicately textured love songs. This is a great show -- well recorded, too -- from one of Melbourne's most consistent songwriters, but it's perverse that his ungainly, endearing storytelling between songs is directed only at, as he says, the cosmos. With bassist Bill McDonald and guitarist Billy Miller he traverses his career from Sports frontman in the late 1970s (Don't Throw Stones, Who Listens to the Radio?) through to newer solo material such as Little Girl on a Sofa and I Need You Tonight. Cummings is in fine voice and the three musos blend exquisitely on the 20 songs. They deserve a round of applause.
Cummings's 13th solo album, Space Travel, features the aforementioned Little Girl on a Sofa, a gentle, nostalgic love song with Beach Boys harmonies, alongside 10 others that plunder gospel and soul (I Remember), swampy rock'n'roll (Hey Kitty Kitty!) and acoustic folk (It's Not Me, It's You!). The strings, strum and repetitive cycle of No Stopping echo the Blue Nile, but the song is no less impressive for that. Indeed, everything here has a spring in its step, augmented by Cummings's regular collaborators McDonald and Miller, the Luscombe brothers and Shane O'Mara. Clearly he's loving it, even if, as he says on Who Wants to Buy a Broken Heart?, "falling in love, that's not for me". A bit of poetic licence there, perhaps.
by Michael Dwyer - The Age, 31 August 2007
As a career musician, Stephen Cummings gave up linear progress years ago. His last four or five albums have just sort of appeared. Songs accumulated under his sofa cushions and fingernails, while his circling writer's mind played tricks with past, present and fiction. Space Travel is strewn with dreamlike flashback and stocktaking songs. "This happened years ago," he confides at the end of Little Girl On A Sofa - the girl whose face, we're encouraged to imagine, adorns the album cover. Cummings also appears as his '70s self on the back: the smouldering Sports singer in a floral shirt and a backstage smirk that suggests that he thinks he's going to live forever. He gently mocks that delusion in I Remember, From The Day I Was Born and Hurry, Hurry And Let's Go, powerful songs of self-evaluation that strive for meaning with the sad-eyed humour of middle age - and the same unique, oddly impulsive phrasing of his youth. Stylistically he makes spirited visits to Tennessee and Tijuana but ringing and lilting acoustic pop ballads remain Cummings' anchor as his mind wanders on through space.