Cults - Nice’n’Sleazy, Glasgow, Wed 31 Aug 2011
New Yorkers' difficult attempt to recreate reverb-soaked debut album
When their chiming, summery debut single ‘Go Outside’ ricocheted around the blogosphere last year, then on TV ads for Brothers Cider this summer, New Yorkers Cults made a very immediate impression. Live, their undoubted charms proved much slower to assert themselves, via a sound so quiet and insubstantial it was a wonder to think five people and a small prog rock group’s worth of gear were required to make it.
Granted, Cults are never likely to be the kind of band who have people raking their pockets for earplugs. Centred around the flowing-haired boyfriend-girlfriend twosome of vocalist Madeline Follin and guitarist Brian Oblivion, 60s girl groups (‘You Know What I Mean’ is practically a straight lift of The Supremes’ ‘Where Did Our Love Go’), the Spector Wall of Sound and bedsit indie-pop are this pair’s romantic touchstones, and the careful work they’ve put into recreating live the sound of a reverb-soaked debut album thick with atmosphere was appreciable.
But it all came at the expense of a certain hip-shaking immediacy that ought to have been a given during the likes of ‘Abducted’ and ‘Bumper’ – sunny, shimmering tunes filled with melodies so simple and insistent it’s hard to believe they haven’t been snapped up already. On this underwhelming evidence, Cults are a band much easier to admire than they are to L-U-V love.