In 1985, The Cult were the coolest "goth band" going. There latest album, Love, was a fascinatingly tribal, yet modern rock album by a band that had shown no prior glimmer of this greatness as The Death Cult, or Southern Death Cult. If this didn't work, what would they shorten their name to, The Cu?
"She Sells Sanctuary" and "Rain" worked just as well on the dancefloor as on the concert stage, where Billy Duffy's monolithic riffs coiuld run wild. Even two years later, I had not tired of the album and was hoping the band would continue to deliver moreof the same, as I felt there was still some terrain left to explore.
The band obviusly felt the same way, heading back into the studio with Love producer Steve Brown to record their eagerly anticipated follow-up. The finished album was christened Peace and primed for release, but a last-minute change-of-heart by the band saw the entire album shelved.
The "Electric" version of "Wild Flower"
The original version::
Of course, anyone curious to hear the original versions of songs like "Wild Flower", "Peace Dog", and "Love Removal Machine" need only check out YouTube. Listening to these versions, it's as if Brown, who catured the band's essence so well on Love, has no fucking idea what he's doing this time around. Compared to Rick Rubin's lean, no-frills production, Brown's sounds like a live field recording of a band playing from the bottom of a very deep hole.
That's not to say that I was initially a fan of Rubin's production. Additionally, new drummer Les Warner lacked the chops for such a bare-bones sound, especially after the propulsive rhythms guest drummer Mark Brzezinski, on loan from Big Country, brought to the Love sessions. As a result, songs that could have otherwise soared - :"Bad Fun" and their cover of Steppenwolf nugget "Born To Be Wild" to name just two - remain landlocked.
That's not to say the album is a dud, though. In truth, the first half of the album is a non-stop cavalcade of joyous riffage, with Ian Astbury embracing his inner Robert Plant. All things considered, Electric the band's second-best album and, since they've already performed Love in its entirety, the next logical step is to do the same for Electric, which the band will be doing on August 27 when their tour hits Chicago's House of Blues.