Cults Return Ready to Embrace the Light


Shawn Blackball

By Josh Petersen, Digital Managing Editor

The wait is over; after a four-year hiatus, Cults is back with a brand new album. This New York City duo has courted a loyal fan base by mixing unsettling lyrics with catchy melodies inspired by 1960s pop songs. This formula seemed to arrive fully formed. In fact, the band received significant attention from music bloggers before they had even released a debut album. Band members Matt Oblivion and Madeline Follin were catapulted into success, moving from relative unknowns to critical darlings, over the span of just a few months. In hindsight, Oblivion observes that this quick success leads to a busy and exhausting period. “I feel like we stepped into a tour van when we were 21, and basically didn’t get out of it for the next few years,” he says. After their 2013 album “Static”, both members decided to take some time off, hoping for creative and personal rejuvenation.

As Cults has developed as a band, their process has gone through some major changes. In recording their new album “Offering”, lead vocalist Follin took a more active role in the instrumentation of individual songs, playing drums and keyboard throughout. Overall, the band cites their time recording their album as a major step forward. Their confidence has increased in many areas, from studio work to songwriting, and the development is apparent in the new music.

On “Offering”, Cults continues to refine trademarks of their earlier work, while also exploring a new artistic direction. Similar to their earlier albums, these new songs combine dreamy vocals and fuzzy guitars in a sound that unites influences from the past and the present. However, the tone of their work has subtly changed with time. Cults’ past music exploited Follin’s sugary voice to explore some dark ideas, often interposed between spoken word quotes from violent cult leaders. Now, the music’s sunnier moments no longer feel ironic. “I mean, the last track on our last album was called ‘No Hope,'” Oblivion said in a recent press release. “The first track on this record is called ‘Offering.’ That pretty much says it.”

Cults will be performing at Urban Lounge with Cullen Omori and Hideout on October 29 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $18 if bought in advance. This event is only 21 or older.