Leigh MichaelWednesday,12 June 2013

The Snap:

Indie-pop band Cults is on tour right now, meandering their way through the USA with that effortless charm that got them so much buzz back in 2011.

The group is perhaps best known for “Go Outside,” an infectious song that tempers a lighthearted sound with lyrics that confront oppression. Their accompanying music video, which features raw footage from the infamous Jonestown, ties the song into a cohesive story about the all-encompassing power that cults have over their members. Fascinating subject matter aside, the band is talented — and it seems that they’re only going to get better.

The Download:

Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin were far from famous when they uploaded three songs onto Bandcamp, just as a million other aspiring musicians have done before them. Except here’s where the story branches out: They got famous. On-the-radio, sold-out-shows famous.

When they released their self-titled EP in 2011 (they have yet to come out with a second album), Oblivion explained to NPR that much of its content was borne from the strange magnetic pull of cults, a relationship that is both “cautionary and romantic.”

Their songs — combined with their music videos — exude a strange pull. I remember a few months back, I was enjoying some wholesome procrastinating by looking up random shit on the internet. Somehow, Jim Jones ended up in the search bar. One quick read-through of his Wikipedia page (slash the basic knowledge you glean from being a human who has heard the term “Drink the Kool-Aid” at least 600 times in her life) is enough to make you feel… uncomfortable. And yet you keep reading. Then you check out some old news footage, then some picture. The rabbit hole of the internet — and the inexplicable human fascination with cults — grabbed ahold of me.

Cults (the band) has latched onto this vibe. Their songs are light — dreamy even — but beneath the whimsical facade is something sinister. “Abducted” is a great example. If it’s background noise, the track is uptempo and ideal party/bbq/whatever gathering material. But when you pay attention to the lyrics — a sampling: “He broke my heart because I really loved him // He took it all away and left me to bleed out, bleed out” — it takes on a whole new meaning. Add to that the completely creepy music video and you sort of feel like the song hoodwinked you. The band has effectively used the manipulations of a cult leaders. They present one image, and we all buy into its sunny, poppy facade. Then you dig a little deeper, and the music takes on a whole new meaning.

There are a lot of reasons to listen to Cults. They’re talented (listen to “Make Time” for even more proof, if you need it), they’re growing (the band now has five members), and they’re promising an “aggressive” sound on their next album. And despite my admittedly less-than-witty title, it’s true: I’ve joined the Cults Cult. I think as far as cults go, it’s a good one to join.

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Hat Tips:

3 News, NPR, Bandcamp, Cults, Image Credit: Flickr


  1. […] talked about Cults on here before. Their debut self-titled album was met with a storm of success, gaining applause from all ends of […]

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