The adult nursery of melody
Manhattan, New York’s indie-pop duo, Cults returned this fall with newly inspired rhythms for their fourth full-length album Host. Writing music on the side, Cult’s Madeline Follin presented her works to her musical partners, Brian Oblivion and producer Shane Stoneback, which left them astounded and lead to the production of the 2020’s Host LP. Birthed in 2010, Cults was first sparked by their first three-track EP Cults 7” that was released on their bandcamp page, then on to their self-titled LP Cults, fueling their ongoing popularity since with three LPs and their newest release.
Featuring a low-fi sugary pop sound, their melodies inspire that of a transient down-to-earth chill sensation, critically acclaimed by hipsters of every denomination, making them a leading A listed artist of the indie-pop scene with beloved tracks such as “Always Forever” and “Go Outside” to solidify their claim. Like something that of similar artists such as Tennis, Beach House and Night Moves, Host is still canonically Cults with the same vibe of narcosis that comes with each other their works with an underground aesthetic to match it.
Initiating with “Trials,” Host opens to the calming, repetitive upbeat percussions and sly, riveting bass lines garnished by streaking guitar slurs consolidated by Follin’s appeasing vocals to drive the nail into this intro. Utilizing the melodic sounds of trumpets and keyboards to enhance the secondary line of bass and drums, “8th Avenue” is the embodiment of strolling down the sidewalks of downtown, encompassed by content, blissful sentiment to motivate every step forward.
With the use of ethereal synths to give a fragile, sleepy, calming sensation that erupts into a hard-hitting, percussion-driven melody that tackles the soul with an overcoming grungy punk sensation, “Spit You Out” embodies this duality in perfect unison. Equally as narcotic, “A Low” emphasizes more on Cults’ dreamy element side with propelling keyboards to bestow it this overwhelming aura of magnificence that is, by definition, soothing with a dash of energy.
Like that of a nursery rhyme for adults, “Low Risk” is cheerful and easy to follow along with like such that is led by gentle, restful keyboards and soft and low emotional guitars that transition into dancing choruses that leaves drearily by use of gloomy violins. Slow and dismal, “Working It Over” shares the similar vibes of its counterpart “A Low,” but taken to a lower level of drab sentimentality that is coerced by Follin’s sympathetic vocals and Oblivion’s slow guitar strums.
Wreathed in dreamy vocals and vicarious synths and guitar strums, “A Purgatory” is restful in a blurry visage of somber-inspired images to drown the listener into narcosis. With a different tone, “Like I Do” cranks additional energy in a punky fashion with slacking guitar screeches on top of wavy, free-flowing synths excellent for those ‘at home bedroom thrasher concerts’ as opposed to the quirky synth base of “Masquerading” that is the sugary sweet lavender core of Host, featuring Follin’s honeyed vocals and the supporting soft beating percussions.
Like a burst of optimistic luminous colors, “Honest Love” is a splash of positive emotion that comes through Follin’s heightened cheerful vocals and sun-drenched dreamy synths that opposes the acoustic melodies of “Shoulders To My Feet.” This song still brings the optimistic vibes, but toned down a notch to give a harder apathetic synth-wave effect, but brought back by encouraging choruses.
Perhaps the most grossing track of Host, with third place on Cults overview Spotify page, “Monolithic” hits last in the LP and is a reminiscent tune to one on their first album Cults, with a gloomy, upbeat tune to send enthusiastic, relaxing sensations down people’s spine as this LP concludes.
It is albums like Host that take away the chaos of the live world into a tranquil place of mind that is calming and coaxing such as the reverence of a nursery where no harm can be done. With a new pool of inspiration, this duo has struck a vein of synthetic gold that requires mining it dry. For fans, this LP is a must listen and a straight download, and repeat button.