Cults

Static

Columbia

Oct 11, 2013 Issue #47 - September/October 2013 - MGMT Bookmark and Share


Cults continue to marry cool-kitsch '50s diner, Motown R&B, girl-group glitz, and other reverb-drenched elements with dense and modern electronic production, and it continues to be a solid combo. It's a peanut butter and chocolate kind of thing here: if things get too sweet, just dive into the layers of guitars and keyboard to take the edge off.

Album opener "I Know" gets right to it, just one dancing little person (or giant/Bob) short of a Julee Cruise tune accompanying a David Lynch scene. But it's a setup: "I Can Hardly Make You Mine" goes off like Phil Spector's pistol, a bouncing, explosive pop tune with a chorus key change to lift it impossibly high, all wrapped up in a mess of noise and effects. With "Always Forever," it's back to the diner and a milkshake full of sweet nothings like "You and me/Always, forever," but it's delicious. Roll down the T-Bird window already, you uptight bastards; take in the summer air.

Later, "High Road" goes into a minor key, with eerie string builds, '80s pop, and shoegaze backing up lines like "I should've took the high road/Now it's such a long way back." Its follow-up has roughly the same melody until vocalist Madeline Follin craftily takes it elsewhere. Speaking of craft, "Keep Your Head Up" conjures thoughts of REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar before going full '90s with the shoegazing/drum programmingand maybe just a hair too far into sunshine positivity and energy on that particular chorus, just one of several Big Choruses represented here, in the capitalized sensejust going for it. Some of them may be lost on you, but open your heart and others will simply not be denied.

Cults are flipping open your gauzy shades and letting the sunshine in, letting you slap on your best Stepford smile as the world falls apart. What else should we do? Enjoy the ear-candy. (www.cultscultscults.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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Quinn
November 1st 2013
11:40am

Cults definitely avoided the sophomore slump on this one. I’m really diggin’ the new tunes.