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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Cults gain a musical following

    	The up-and-coming band Cults performs for a crowd of fans at Hotel Congress on Saturday. Cults incorporates sound bites of cult leaders talking into their songs.
    Ernie Somoza

    The up-and-coming band Cults performs for a crowd of fans at Hotel Congress on Saturday. Cults incorporates sound bites of cult leaders talking into their songs.

    Cults is the perfect name for this young band from New York City, which seemingly came out of the ether last summer when the band posted its first single, “Go Outside,” to its Bandcamp.com page. It appeared suddenly and with force, and, from last summer to this one, has made everyone sure of its name.

    “Cults” is the epitome of a summer sound — it’s dream pop and teen pop rejuvenated. Lead singer Madeline Follin fits the part of the ‘60s girl pop front-runner — with her long brown hair and falsetto voice, she is still somehow a bit intimidating. It could be the edge and attitude in her rebellious lyrics, or it could be that she’s just so damn cute.

    Cults played at Club Congress on Saturday. The band played most of the songs from its self-titled debut album, which was released on record label In the Name Of on June 7. Crowd favorites included the first track, “Abducted,” in which lead guitarist Brian Oblivion sings two-part harmonies that complement Follin’s voice perfectly, and, of course, “Go Outside,” the song that brought Cults onto the scene. “Go Outside” encapsulates the best of the band’s sound, image and message — the dreamy, twinkling opening gives way to Follin’s strong and sweet voice. And she almost shouts lyrics like, “Please don’t tell me you know the plans for my life / I can run away and leave you here to stay inside dreaming.”

    Cults is a band that seems almost adolescent in its lyrics, but not in a bad way. Cults’ messages are simple, innocent and laden with confusion, and the words seem to come from a kid’s diary. Overall, the band’s lyrics sound like the musings of someone trying to figure out who they are.

    But in performance and composition of its songs, Cults is definitely mature. The band is charismatic and, for a group that only recently got signed to a record label, seems to already have a solid fan base. The songs on its album try out a number of samples, but the coolest — and creepiest — is what gives the band its namesake: Cults uses sound bites of cult leaders talking to their followers. The samples are so well-woven into the hazy upbeat melodies that they are completely unrecognizable as speech, and rather act as another great sound that keeps listeners interested. Follin and her band of boys are serious about their craft. In “Never Heal Myself,” a song about changing for someone else, Follin abandons her efforts with a light “fuck you” at the end of a verse. It’s not a vindictive message, but one of self-acceptance, and seems to sum up the band pretty well.

    Cults is bringing back sounds reminiscent of Pat Benatar and Debbie Harry with the same sort of attitude, and the band isn’t not sorry about it. Plus, Cults’ youthful personality works to its advantage — Cults has plenty of room to grow, and it’s almost certain its next album will be just as personal and fun, with more surprises and even more sass.

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