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Album Review: Cults – Static

3 min read

The New York music scene has always been a funny one.  One minute it will be the centre of the universe for new music, the next it will be only a few people who have heard the songs coming out from the darkest corners of the village.  Some people love the hipster, effortlessly cool bands that arrive on the scene, hailing from film or art school backgrounds, while others despise this sort of thing.  Although it’s a fine line to tread, there’s no escaping the fact that Cults are one of those cool New York bands, and yes, they do have a film school background, but unlike many, they actually have proper talent to back this up.

CultsStaticCults duo Brian Oblivion (Guitar) and Madeline Follin (Vocals) have definitely moved forward since their debut album, not only musically, but romantically.  It’s true they used to be couple, and we all know the story here, dating within bands doesn’t work, but in more cases than not, the break up leads to some cracking music.  The best example of a band breakup album has to be Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, that’s basically impossible to beat, but Cults new record Static isn’t just a break up album.  It’s more than that because as an outsider, it seems some songs were written from within the relationship, and others afterwards.  This helps create an album more rounded than their debut and with a good mix of feel good and heartbreak.

There’s a sultry and mystical feel throughout Static, Follin’s echo-laden vocals drifting in and out of your consciousness like a dream, but managing to impress a lasting factor.  I Can Hardly Make You Mine is an early achievement, with a hint of The Shins about it, “I know you’re not the one and only but we both know what it’s like to be lonely” sings Follin, seemingly already in two minds about band relationships.  Highroad is an album highlight with an intro sounding like a cross between a track from Oceans 11 and the chill out masters, Zero 7.  Seventies style Hammond organ is a welcome influence littered throughout, and the record does well to have an overall sound, but not get boring at the same time.  Keep Your Head Up has one of the catchiest choruses, and speaks volumes about where Follin’s is emotionally.  It’s hard when singing about relationships to keep the lyrics fresh but Cults manage this with a spattering of classics throughout. “I know you’re right but still I fight’ she sings on No Hope, which I guess is a situation most couples can relate to.

The record is a definite leap forward from their debut and is testament to the fact they haven’t fallen into the trap of the difficult second album.  If this record is anything to go by, it may be a good idea for Brian and Madeline to get back together and then break up again before releasing any new material, it seems a guarantee of great music.

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