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BOTW: Review of Cults Live and Recorded

Band of the Week, The Cults, held residence at the Scala earlier this week (24/05) and the record sounds amazing playing from the stereo, but could they hold up live? There’s always some trepidation seeing a band live for the first time, we’ve all been to a show where the band sounded great on the record only to sound like a dying cat locked in a hamper in person.  Yet as soon the first song, ‘Abducted’, started up it became clear that Cults’ Madeline Follin sounds just as impressive in person as she does coming from the speakers. It’s sort of a soft spot to see a female vocalist really belt it, and Follin did just that on tracks like ‘You Know What I Mean.’ It was still a crowd of indie kids, where standing awkwardly around not moving, no matter how much the music begs for it, is the thing to do, but track ‘Go Outside’ did get a few self-conscious ‘whoops’.

But what gets everyone excited about a live performance is always the album and The Cults debut, self –titled LP is one to get excited about. The album is characterised by it’s take on ‘60s pop with enough of a bend to bring it to the modern day audience. ‘Never Heal Myself’ has the pop-y rollings of the Dixie Cups, paired with distorted guitars and lyrics like, ‘I could never be myself, so fuck you’, make the music feel fresh rather than a regurgitated, gimmick mess. The New York duo adds edge to the fluffy cloud of throwback pop by adding sound clips from cult leaders and films on songs ‘Go Outside’ and ‘Oh My God.’

However, the best tracks off the album are when both Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion take up the mic stand to tell tales of sinister love. ‘Bumper’ begins with a piano that points to a Shangri-Las influence and continues as a duet about a relationship after all the bliss is gone and reality sets in with Oblivion singing, ‘If she’s the crazy now, there’s no telling what’s in store.’

The Cults are definitely on the hyped list with blogs going crazy for them, but it’s rightly deserved. Cults are able to make pop that makes your head bob and shoulders move, but with enough introspection added in about relationships and our own psyche to keep from being mindless.

Debut album Cults comes out 30th May and for more info on the band go here.


-Stevie Pearce

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