REVIEW: Cults – “Cults”

Cults / Cults / Sony

There’s something about soul singers. The words escaping their lips sound simple, but the distress behind it annotates their meaning is much deeper than what you think. Cults’ Madeline Follin isn’t your stereotypical retro troubadour due to the Pitchfork-esque adjectives tattooed on the group and that’s fine; the first-glance outlook is temporary. Twinkling toe-tappers like “Oh My God” and “Most Wanted”, both of which have Follin disclosing innocence over pop strings on the self-titled debut, sound like recycled indie. The bass slaps dance with surf and Brian Oblivion’s guitar rings with light distortion, all the while conjuring images of summer, the beach and happiness.

Until Follin lets the spotlight dim on her frame. “I never saw the point in trying / Cause’ I will only let you down,” she swoons (“Never Saw The Point”), before gripping the microphone like an 18-year-old Lesley Gore, flirting with pitch while Oblivion sinks a charming groove into your senses. “Abducted” and “Bad Things” achieve a similar experience; the former letting drum raps wash against synth as the latter projects ominous doo-wop. Even the esteemed mess that is “Rave On” questions Cults’ musical direction. Are the New York-based noisemakers another beach pop outfit to pin next to the rest of them? One would think “yes”, but the diversity on the group’s first LP decisively shakes its head “no”. An ensemble that makes both the elderly and emo rock pioneers stagger, the unfamiliar bits of Cults’ are the most mature revivals of classic 1960s’ pop that music’s beared in the past five years.

Download: “Abducted”, “Never Saw The Point”


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