On Thursdays, Pop Addict presents infectious tunes from contemporary musicians across indie rock, pop, folk, electronica, and more.
Cults: “Abducted”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Cults_Abducted.mp3|titles=Cults: “Abducted”]
From the Peoples Temple’s mass suicide in Jonestown in the 1970s, to the violent end to David Koresh’s born-again hedonists in Waco, Texas, cults have been a dark chapter in America’s history. Though the organizations themselves claim to offer hope and promise to its members, something much more terrible has been covered by promises of self- fulfillment and spiritual rejuvenation. True to its name, then, Brooklyn-based duo Cults has a bit of this duality as well—offering music that’s blissful, summery, and full of promise yet tinged with an underlying darkness.
The band, though, has no problem balancing these contrasts. In fact, throughout the duo’s debut album, Cults’ gorgeously crafted summer-pop songs are layered with recordings of Jim Jones’ infamous “death speech.” The second track, “Go Outside,” wallows in its own instruments, buzzing to life while Jones’ words state, “To me, death is not a fearful thing; it’s living that is treacherous.” It then explodes into Madeline Follin’s hook-driven vocals, Brian Oblivion’s hazy guitar tooling, and an inescapably catchy xylophone — evoking a sound somewhere between Best Coast, The Kills, The Raveonettes, and The Beach Boys.
And though that juxtaposition helps define Cults, the band moves forward, track after track, offering catchy pop rock — the kind that makes you want to throw some belongings in the car and hit the road until you reach the coastline. And, in that sense, that’s the scary part of Cults: the songs are infectious — enough to brainwash you into liking it immediately.