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Cults CD

4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 May 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B004VLZUA4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,656 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Ever since posting three songs anonymously up on band camp in the spring of 2010, excitement and intrigue has been swirling around Cults, with the buzz building to a fever pitch early in 2011 with their first string of shows in the UK all quickly selling out. Gaining fervent supporters on both sides of the pond (including the influential likes of Pitchfork, Gorilla Vs Bear, NME and the Guardian), Cults have spent the year slowly and steadily building up their reputation as a live band, while also recording their album in the studio with Shane Stoneback (Vampire Weekend, M.I.A). The result is their self-titled LP, chock full of deliciously offbeat, slanted and enchanted songs.
Expanding on the off-kilter loveliness of tracks like “Most Wanted” and “Go Outside”, the album compresses key points in the history of pop--everyone from My Bloody Valentine to Phil Spector to Jay Z and Lesley Gore--and takes it down some very unexpected (and sometimes, unexpectedly dark) places indeed. Gorgeously infectious melodies sit alongside surreal samples, soaring, cinematic choruses envelop lyrics detailing restlessness and heartbreak, and lush, out-and out pop hits (“Bumper”, the anthemic closer “Rave On”) rub up against tracks of a decidedly more sinister bent (“Walk At Night”, “Never Saw the Point”). This is a pop record boldly unafraid to wear its idiosyncrasies on its sleeve, as well as its vivid harmonies.

BBC Review

Cults emerged little over a year ago, seemingly out of nowhere, with their wildfire hit Go Outside and a heavy whiff of mystery. At the time facts about the band were thin; there were two of them, and they were from Brooklyn. But now the band (backed by additional members) are back with names, faces and a debut album – out on Lily Allen’s In The Name Of imprint – with no more ambiguity to hide behind.

The cautionary tale of the one-hit wonder is well-worn and wisely Cults eschewed the easily doomed path of the quick follow-up and waited for things to cool down. After a period of quiet, recordings-wise, Cults return on new single – and album opener – Abducted with a false calm. In the opening strains of the song only a faraway jangle is audible as Madeline Follin sings the opening few lines in a hush, as if to only herself. A snare announces the song properly as it bursts into its first chorus with lurching organ and a propulsive break-beat; it feels like no time has elapsed at all since the summer of 2010.

The opening trio of songs is the strongest, but that’s not to say that the rest of the record trails off meekly; more that the starting gun of Abducted, Go Outside and You Know What I Mean is a tough bang for any band to follow. The latter of those songs is an instant highlight with its rasping vocal and 1960s sound. It has more bite than Go Outside ever hinted at and is steeped in melancholy, peaking on the last chorus as Follin almost screams, "I am afraid of the light, yeah you know what I mean".

Her voice sounds great above their warm, reverb-soaked sound, and the band plays it up as the focal point on songs like Never Saw the Point as her vocal melodies are doubled by glockenspiel – a trick Cults pull out again and again. Echoes of Motown and Phil Spector also loom large throughout this record, lending a wistful, nostalgic feel to proceedings – it’s a great warm-weather album. But despite the genre signifiers there’s more than enough personality of their own here for Cults to transcend both their blog hit wonder and the timeworn sound they lovingly homage.

--Hari Ashurst

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Syriat TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 31 May 2011
Format: Audio CD
Some albums come along and you know you will be hearing them for a while. This is one of those. Its perfect for the summer (should we get one this year). Its poppy, upbeat and harks back to a bygone era (Phil Spector has been mentioned too many times already in connection with this band) whilst sounding current.
It starts off with Abducted which breezes along with ease, guitars and percussion all combining here for a feel good effect. These two sure do make a lot of noise for a duo. Yes I am sure they are getting help but this is no White Stripes style duo with the bare essentials. More it is a band sound. You Know What I Mean could have been from the 60's - it really sounds like some of the better studio produced female vocalists of that time. Never Heal Myself is another track that grabs instantly with an opening of acoustic guitar and percussion. You get the feel that under the excellent songs there are some brooding lyrics about love lost and won. Sometimes the riff of electric guitar comes into give a brooding feel - as in Never Saw The Point. And at points on this album I am reminded of My Girls by The Animal Collective. Its almost there with its sound and approach. Especially on Bad Things. Or perhaps I am hearing things.

If this gets any airplay at all it will sell lots and have many indie kids this summer swooning. Its rather fantastic fun. And may well become a five star album for this reader with repeated plays.
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Format: Audio CD
The Cults' highly hyped debut album begs the question: is it worth the attention? Well, it's a yes & a no. It's an unqualified yes to the songs, the vocals & the arrangements. The compositions are not only good but in some cases quite exceptional & the echo-plastered vocals have an affecting oriental flavour which I find very pleasing indeed. So far so good, then. So why the no? Because all of this combo's obvious potential is severely compromised by one of the most kack-handed & woefully misguided productions that I've heard in my life. The production is, simply, awful. The master tracks have been subjected to a wholesale indiscriminate wall of reverb that succeeds only in making it all sound as if it was recorded in a tin can, which tries the patience after three or four tracks & is a decidedly unpleasant experience when listening to the album from start to finish. What is most alarming is that they evidently intended it to be this way, which smacks of a wilful indulgence that ends up disrespecting the qualities of their own music. There is no bottom-end thrust at all (needs a boost, I'm afraid) & practically all of the impressive detail in the treble registers is entirely lost in the reverb blur. If you have the software you can correct this yourself at home, of course, & the album will sound a whole lot better for it- so much better, in fact, that you will share my dismay that a major record company could release the record in this condition without exercising some quality control. But for all that, the songs & vocals performances are infectious enough to get under your skin & stay there- which is why it gets 4 instead of 3 stars. With a more sympathetic production, this could have been one of the most attractive offerings of the year to date. As it stands, however, it's the most frustrating by a long mile. It's a shame, because hidden inside this tin can fiasco is a damn fine record which deserves much much better.
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Format: Audio CD
I bought this on whim. No real reason. Saw a review which gave it 4 stars but then hey I read reviews every week giving albums 4 stars. But for some reason I listened to a snippet of Abducted on itunes and was hooked. I guess I could have stayed there but also decided to listen to the rest and ultimatley ended up with the album.

All I can say is I love it. 11 sparse, Phil Spector wall of sound style tunes that enter your brain and stay there. Dreamy vocals, hazy sounds, background synth bubbles, 60's guitar strummings, echoes of Motown flitting in and out. A truly beautiful thing.

My advice? Buy it. Sometimes you have to do things on a whim!
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By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Oct. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Cults are New York Duo Madeline Follin, who sings and Brian Oblivion (ahem)
who plays guitar and percussion and contributes additional vocals. In coming
to a view about whether or not they deserve our attention we are faced with a
small dilemma. There are quite a few double-acts out there in the listening
world right now who have made a mission of plundering the sixties in the hope
of finding new expression and relevance in that turbulent decade's cold ashes.
The Raveonettes and Cat's Eyes have already deported themselves well in similar
territory and both managed to deliver albums which deigned to capture, in dark
and foreboding sonic hues, the spirit of an age long-gone under the horizon.

Cults' contribution to this burgeoning genre, however, favours a lighter touch.
They write jolly good tunes. Ms Follin sings them well with a thin-and-crispy
voice which is high on cool but somewhat lacking in substance but this does
not really matter at all. Her approach is enthusiastic and this more than makes
up for her technical shortcomings. Take a song like 'Never Heal Myself' : the
strong melody, sparkling arrangement and sense of summery abandon is pretty
nigh irresistible. Single 'Go Outside', too, manages to keep the fires of the
summer of love burning in dense swathes of reverb and quasi-psychedelic bonhomie.
The lovely 'You Know What I Mean' would have gone down a storm at at a wedding
reception in Scarborough in 1963 and the spirit of Merseyside seems alive and
well in the delightfully jaunty 'Never Saw The Point' and 'Bumper'. It is to
'Walk At Night', however, which I would draw your attention for elucidation
of Ms Follin's and Mr Oblivion's not insignificant songwriting abilities.
Read more ›
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