Love — The Cult — W.A.C.#4

220px-The_Cult_Love

Love

My thoughts

The Cult’s second studio album straddles the unclear line between rock and metal. It’s a little late to be early metal and so probably fits in the “goth metal” category. Whatever it is, Love has a definitive 80’s sound.

You could be fooled into thinking that you were listening to Duran Duran in the opening bars of Nirvana, the opening track. One thing you notice straight away is that the music is quite a lot more about the instrumentation than the vocal lines. It’s a tried and tested sound, 4/4 rhythms, regular drum beats with fills and steady guitar lines, all somewhat crowding around the quite faded vocal line.

Although more recently I’ve tried to avoid giving more attention to the beginning of the album than the end, Big Neon Glitter, the second track, really conjures images of early U2, it’s quite fascinating in that it doesn’t feel like plagiarism, more this is the sound of the times, even the slightly fluid, off centre vocals that echo into the distance, another 80’s-ism.

As the album proceeds, the vocal sound seems to settle a little bit, in fact, I had to look twice at my player as the lead singer sounds very much like Freddie Mercury both in melody line and vocal timbre; just listen to the opening “come on now” and held notes in the titular track, Love. On saying this, the overall style is much less distorted guitar sound, it’s an interesting change, see Brother Wolf; Sister Moon. This is a slow ballad, almost a Pink Floyd sound.

Ok, ok I know… I have endless compared The Cult to other artists or groups but its interesting to me. Quite often, you can look back to an artist and hear all these different sounds as though the group is imitating other sounds, not so here! It is all natural, all slightly metally and all The Cult, with solid writing and performance all the way.

Rain is one of the better known tracks. It’s a nice heavy rock number from beginning to end with your typical straightforward but just generally solid lyrics:

Hot sticky scenes, you know what I mean
Like a desert sun that burns my skin
I’ve been waiting for her for so long
Open the sky and let her come down

Here comes the rain
Here comes the rain
Here she comes again
Here comes the rain

Phoenix is the most typical metal sound yet with its discordant opening, heavy bass, over driven guitar, pulsating percussion and of course, the lyrics: “I’m on fire”. Actually, for me, something about it hits a pleasing note, a sort of middle of the road classic metal sound, I can just sit back and enjoy it.

A sort of fondness hits for songs like Hollow Man, just the sort of semi-creepy idea to metal lyrics. Yeah you can see the goth side here for goth metal. I think just for it’s slightly bizarre take, I’d call it a second pick.

The album closes out with Revolution, She Sells Sanctuary and Black Angel. Revolution I can sort of take and leave as it’s a little uninspired for my taste, but you can tell they are into She Sells Sanctuary. There’s energy and pace and just a fun sound; once again you can tell that The Cult are kind of still finding what works for them fully, as artists often do in the early stages. Black Angel closes us out on a slow ballad, which is not how I would have chosen to end the album but it’s solid enough. As usual for a finale, the instrumentation swells to an echo-y climax with the mildly sinister lyrics.

It’s a long way to go
With the reaper at your side
It’s a long way to go
A black angel at your side

Overall I enjoyed this album and it sits in the middle of my comfort zone, things will make it onto my regular listening and I’d be happy to listen to more, but I guess at no point was I astonished.

Is this album for you?

With the comments of metal, U2, Duran Duran – this should sort of give you a flavour. Shake it all up, add 80’s style and some grittier lyrics and you have more or less the sound. It’s welcoming, though!

Scores

  • Writing: 8/10
  • Performance: 8/10
  • Style: 7.5/10

Solid enough

 

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