Firstly I should apologise directly to Cults. This album came out many months ago and I’ve had it on my list to review and following starting a new job and all the other craziness that’s been going on I’ve not sat down to review it properly. In many ways, due to this lengthier process it’s meant I’ve kept coming back to this album, originally to refamiliarise myself with it but recently because I love it.
Sure, I could waste some of your time talking about our adoration of the 80s and 90s and how all our popular culture seems drenched in it but a) you know that already and b) the best bits of the 80s and 90s were better than the best bits of now so I’m fine with it. Cults title track opens the album and immediately we’re washed in a Disintegration-era The Cure synth sound. A snare that sounds like it was dug out of the Twin Peaks soundtrack pounds away and Madeline Follin showgaze-esque vocals immediately delight. For me, it filled a gap I’d not realised was there – an internal aching for delicately gentle pop – and boy does it fill that gap.
If you’re a fan of Tame Impala (and really now, why are you continuing to breathe if you’re not?) then Cult’s first single I Took Your Picture is a must listen. The deep bass line could have come straight off Currents but sits perfectly here and gives the audience a real taste of the scope of the album following on from the opening track Offering. On first listen I found many of the songs almost too light to make much of an impact but following its release I’ve kept coming back to it and each time more and more has resonated. I’ve found myself humming a melody when I’m out and about and then wondered where on earth it was from until back-tracking it to this album.
Throughout the instrumentation and arrangement surprise with a blend of organic and synthetic sounds: hints of acoustic and electric guitars, choral backings, all mix in with the stranger squelchier synths and organs. The faux squeaky synth trumpet on Recovery sounds like a rejected Theme Hospital fanfare yet manages to avoid turning the song into a joke while Nothing Is Written’s vocals bring to mind the Beach Boys. For an album drenched in reverb and EQ filters the production is clean with each song sounding focused.
As we approach the end of the year I like to think that now is a good time to try and catch up on the albums we’ve missed. For those awaiting new music from CHVRCHES or disappointed at the recent output of pretenders like Pvris I’d thoroughly recommend Offering by a band who could also have put a pointless V in their name but wisely chose not to.
The Offering was released via Sinderlyn on 6th October.