Every once in a while you trust your gut and it pans out. Having reading only a few sentences about Cults’ eponymous debut album, not hearing a single song, I decided to give it a shot.
My lucky guess landed me with a fantastic summer record that I listened to multiple times a day for a week straight.
Cults has a healthy blend of hazy guitar filters and crystal clear vocal melodies that make for an airy composition. This light framework allows the group a lot of sonic flexibility, allowing them to get away with the 50s-esque echoing finger-snaps on ‘You Know What I Mean’ as well as the edge and attitude of tracks like ‘Never Saw The Point’ which have decidedly more bite to them.
One of my favorite lyrical moments comes in ‘Never Heal Myself‘, which starts out as a depressing little tale of insecurity and self-loathing, and turns around at the 11th hour as a statement of defiance.
One of the band’s principle strengths is in their ability to juxtapose innocent, plinky, xylophone-type sounds with groovy baselines and dirty guitar riffs and have it really jive. Anyone could put those sounds on top of each other, but under a less-trained hand, it would only be noise.
The album itself is really well balanced with the higher energy tracks (‘Abducted’, ‘Walk At Night’ (which has an epic timpani roll), ‘Never Heal Myself’, ‘Never Saw the Point’) perfectly littered throughout the rest of the tracks which are a bit less heavy in tone. Which brings me to ‘Abducted‘.
At first, the song sounds like you’re listening to it on headphones that have slipped around your neck. It sounds far away and distant. After the first verse though we are thrown into the song, which doesn’t hold back.
The percussion ties the song together nicely, maintaining a surprisingly brisk pace entirely throughout. It’s the masterpiece of this album, and a great opener at that.
Cults is worth it for that track alone, but the fact that it’s got the perfect combination of pop and grit to back it up makes this album a great summer soundtrack, not to mention something we’ll still be talking about when it comes time to talk lists in December.