Local Wire

The Cult

In 2004, when the Pixies got back together, thereby launching the alt-rock reunion industry, Frank Black told the Boston Globe, "We've had this chip in our back pocket for a long time — we're cashing it in this year." So how much worth is left in the chip when a band like The Cult reunites for the second or third time (or maybe even the fourth; I've lost count)? How much of a devoted audience is left to share in the nostalgia with frontman Ian Astbury and company? To be honest, the Cult did a pretty decent job of alienating its fanbase during the first go-around, pissing off the early followers of its atmospheric, gothic post-punk by embracing hard-rock and quasi-metal on 1989's Sonic Temple. And then they pissed off those new fans they'd accrued by making a couple of truly crappy albums before breaking up in '95. They re-formed in 1999 with some fanfare, and since then it's been a mix of lousy albums, meh tours and lengthy hiatuses (or splits). And yet, if you poke around the Internet, you'll find a few hives of diehards who remain thrilled that Astbury, guitarist Billy Duffy, and whatever hired guns are along for the ride nowadays are keeping The Cult alive. Not via new albums anymore, but by traveling around and playing their 1985 breakthrough LP Love — the consensus "best Cult album," featuring the hit "She Sells Sanctuary" — in its entirety. It is a great album that's held up pretty well over time, so maybe this will actually be worth everyone's while after all.
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Michael Alan Goldberg