The Cults Cult

Published On June 16, 2011 | By Kymbo Slice | Music

You shouldn’t be afraid. I’ve only managed to join a cult overnight, no biggie. You can consider me one of Cults‘ newest groupies. I saw them play at Brillo Box last night, and they were fantastic. I heard their breakout single “Go Outside” via Pitchfork about six months ago and had a lukewarm reaction. It was ok, but I didn’t think it was deserving of the attention and buzz it generated. Once I heard their album, I was officially hooked. You can read a great review of it over here, at one of my fave music blogs. Shit’s on point. Read my review of the show first, of course!

There was an extremely long wait between the second band and when Cults took the stage. I remember experiencing the same wait at my fave Brillo show to-date, last summer’s Sleigh Bells appearance. In both cases, it was totally worth it. I have in my notes, “These bitches better dance because they seem like a bunch of tight asses” ha. The room of stinky, cramped, cranky hipsters quickly turned into a sea of smiles as soon as the first note was played. They started out with my fave song on the album, Abducted, which got Pitchfork‘s prestigious nom of “Best New Music”. I couldn’t agree more. This band has definitely gained a spot on my ‘fave new bands I discovered in 2011’ list. I think they enjoyed the atmosphere of the show, and mentioned “This is rather intimate, I wish I knew everybody’s names”. By song five my second favorite song on the album, “You Know What I Mean” was performed. The lead singer, Madeline Follin, has some pipes! This is one of the rare instances in which the vocals sound identical, if not better performed live than they do on the recording. Madeline’s stage presence exuded an assured cuteness, as if she knows she’s adorable and has talent to boot.

Someone mentioned her vocals assume a similar pitch to that of Madonna’s, and while there’s some truth to that, what resounds more in my head is how antiquated their sound is. They’re one of many recent indie darlings who take the classic traits of a genre and put their own spin on it. Few, however do so as flawlessly and as brilliantly executed as this band. The Walkmen’s latest release, Lisbon, comes to mind as another band who takes elements from a timeless genre and put a modern spin on it. We aren’t talking Mambo # 5 here, folks. We’re talking innovative, masterfully constructed songs and albums that recreate certain styles better than the original. The CD review I posted earlier in this post articulated my point to a T:

“Obviously, Cults owes a strong bit of deference to The Supremes, to Phil Spector, to Lesley Gore, to the early sixties and surf rock. But this is not a period piece album…where like minded duo She & Him can often sound overly cutesy, as if this whole retro thing is just a lark, Cults makes it sound sincere.”

The between-song banter was as equally charming as the music. My favorite moment occurred before the song “Rave On” in which a band member remarked, “So I heard Pittsburgh is into raves.” Hells yeah, puttin that shiz on tha map! I also appreciated their lack of regard for formality. They skipped the pre-encore ritual of leaving the stage only to return one sip of beer and forehead wipe later, claiming, “No fake weirdness, this is going to be our encore song. There’s something fake about patting ourselves on the back” – cos I’m sure that’s what bands do when they go back stage for 2.5 seconds before the encore…pat themselves on the back. Maybe on the naughty bits? Who knows.

I’m really looking forward to seeing their career develop and hearing their music evolve. In some aspects they remind me of Beach House, but are a bit more polished at this stage in their career. Hello, summer 2011 soundtrack… my 2010 summer soundtrack (which was inevitably Beach House) was far too depressing anyway.

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