Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cults - Cults

Just last year, Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion were two students in New York trying to find a home in the film industry.  As a hobby of some sort, they casually started writing music together and posted the outcome of a three track EP online.  This EP would not only capture the internet's attention, but also make Cults one of 2011's most anticipated acts.  Soon after the band's initial impact, they were signed to Columbia Records.  Their debut self-titled album just hit shelves this month and it's a massive burst of retro-pop.

Borrowing from the sounds of 1960, Cults mixes echoing reverb with sing along girl-group melodies.  It's something that captures the undeniable charm of oldies radio while still keeping with the modern times.  Follin's vocals are sweetly innocent as she dances with the extensive amount of ringing chimes. She sings of frustration and heartbreak.  "You Know What I Mean" borrows The Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go" to create the most addictive song to sulk to.  The throwback sound makes a good portion of the album sound like reinvented classics.

A few of the tracks are proper duets, containing vocals from Oblivion.  They share back and forth banter on "Bumper", leaving the listener waiting for Oblivion to take on the role of lead vocalist for a song or two.  Unfortunately, that never happens.  However, Follin's vocals do the job perfectly.

While it may seem odd, Cults will appeal to many generations of listeners. Those who where around to hear the band's influences at their peak would find an appeal in the music.  At the same time, a younger crowd of hipsters and eclectic music junkies will devour this record.

Cults' recent rise and specialty sound reminds me of Sleigh Bells.  Both bands had similar unexpected success stories and, in a bizarre way, have sonic similarities.  Cults could be considered a softer version of the noise-pop duo.  She & Him is another name that comes to mind, particularly with "Never Heal Myself".

The album is in no way lacking in infectious melodies.  At barely over thirty minutes, the record ends before you know it.  That causes multiple listens during one sitting.  However, this album is the perfect length.  Any longer might ruin the energy of the Cults experience.

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