Spree Music with J. DiDomizio: Cults
Photo by Ben Peir, Courtesy of the artist
The story of Cults begins with the assertion that they came out of nowhere at the tail end of 2010. As the months accumulated in 2011, it was learned that the duo hails from a couple of places where a number of bands are known to reside: New York City and 60s-era pop and rock. Cults articulate mixture of these places is what makes them so enthralling to hear, and so unique when compared to groups with similar influences.
On their full length, self-titled debut, Madeline Follin and guitarist Brian Oblivion assembled eight new songs and the three tunes that set the internet ablaze in late 2011. Delivering on the promise of those early songs, Cults presents just over half an hour of melodic pop which is what I imagine Elvis Costello would call the Other Side of Summer. Follin sings with sexiness and a maturity that belies the melodrama of the lyrics while the versatile Oblivion adds his shoegazing guitars, twinkling keyboards, and pumping percussion. None of which is studio bluff, as the guitar effects and walls of sound are strong and articulate throughout each song. Their lead-off single “Abducted” is an excellent example of what they do well, with a video is as memorable as the song’s chorus.
With their reverence of Phil Spector-directed girl groups, doo-wop, and 1960’s psychedelic rock, Cults slyly fuse modern hip-hop and rock influences to well-worn song structures, moving beyond nostalgia, and instead between the highs and lows of love and death. The result is the soundtrack of an anxious summer, one steeped with innocence and facing mortality every moment it spends in or out of love.
The national buzz on Cults hasn’t slowed since their full-length debut, and Buffalo is no exception: their show on the 23rd was moved from Mohawk Place to the Town Ballroom, ostensibly to accommodate a larger audience. In a recent interview the duo discussed their live sound as a full 5-piece band, to be more aggressive, making their upcoming shows part of the Cults early story you should not miss.
Opening for Cults will be Blitzen Trapper.
Joseph DiDomizio is a writer, filmmaker, and sometimes a musician. He has been writing about music, movies, books and pop-culture for several years. You can follow him on Twitter if you’d like.