ARTIST: The Cult
YEAR RELEASED: 1984
CHART ACTION: #21 UK
SINGLES: Spiritwalker (#77 UK, #1 UK Indie), Go West (#90 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: This one’s for the die-hards.
LINEUP: Ian Astbury, Billy Duffy, Jamie Stewart, Nigel Preston
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Psychedelic tinged rock with an American West / Native American / Aboriginal peoples theme. It’s a test run for their big success later.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Billy Duffy’s guitar wahs and distorts and slashes riffs around, and Ian Astbury yelps and mewls and hits his high register. But the first true Cult album is only impressive in fits and starts.
Astbury’s really into the Native People’s imagery, with song titles like “Horse Nation”, “Spiritwalker”, “Rider in the Snow”, and the arrangements have kinda sorta an old west tinge to them. However, the production is flat and the music doesn’t seem that compelling. It’s not kitschy like the Cult’s really stooopid song phase, and thus not as fun to listen to, especially since Astbury can get drony and preachy.
There are some highlights, sure. “Spiritwalker” is right up there with anything they’ve done. It’s just not consistent. Crank up “Spiritwalker” and pick and choose the rest.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Before this album, Astbury had a band called Southern Death Cult, and when that band split apart he and Duffy formed Death Cult, which recorded an EP (and then released as a full CD later, which I’ll cover in the Cult’s compilations), which then morphed into The Cult.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with b-sides and a great single “Resurrection Joe” that was the logical next step for the Cult. Sadly, the long version isn’t streaming anywhere.
GRADE: B-: “Spiritwalker” moves this up a notch. The rest is rather much for fans only.