People tend to associate New York indie-soul outfit Cults with the girl groups of the 1960s: Wall of Sound-style production, with Madeline Follin’s plaintive voice out front. But at their recent Paste Studio session to mark the release of their new album, Offering, Follin and musical partner Brian Oblivion cited a much more modern (if still vintage) collection of inspirations: The Cure, Cocteau Twins, The Motels.
Indeed, Offering, the band’s third album, takes plenty of cues from new-wave and synth-rock, though its roots remain in the ‘60 soul sound that fans have come to know and love. Asked if it was an intentional update or an organic evolution, Oblivion joked, “I had just never heard that music until a couple years ago.”
“We’ll meet up, if we haven’t hung out in a while, and be like, ‘What are you listening to that you’re into right now?’” said Follin.
Cults have been a part of the duo’s lives for most of their adult milestones: They met by happenstance at a gig in California, moved in together in New York within weeks, formed Cults shortly after while students at NYU, and have remained friends and collaborators through their romantic breakup. Coming of age in tandem—both as musicians and people—means that transformation and change is inevitable, and Cults have been subtly shifting their music all along, from their dreamy, lo-fi, self-titled debut to the louder, faster, electronic Static in 2012. Offering is yet another rebirth, and Oblivion explained that even the conception of the project was a deviation from the norm. Many of the songs came together through jam sessions in-studio, rather than file sharing. “I’ve just gotten to a point with our vocabulary and both of us getting better as musicians where we can just play,” Oblivion said.
Cults kicked off their Paste session with a rendition of the album’s title track.
“A big part of the process for us is building the band,” Oblivion said. “We have to find all the sounds and imagine it like an orchestra.” Check out their performance of “I Took Your Picture”, another track from Offering.
The group concluded the session with their biggest song, “You Know What I Mean,” a throwback to their 2011 debut. Watch that below, and make sure to check out the full session here. Catch Cults on tour throughout the U.S. and Canada in October and November.
14: Philadelphia (Johnny Brendas)
15: Washington, D.C. (Rock & Roll Hotel)
17: Brooklyn (Music Hall of Williamsburg)
18: Allston (Brighton Music Hall)
19: Albany (The Hollow)
20: Toronto, Canada (Lee’s Palace)
21: Detroit (Marble Bar)
22: Chicago (Lincoln Hall)
24: Minneapolis (Fine Lin)
25: Madison (High Noon Saloon)
26: Des Moines (Vaudeville Mews)
27: Omaha (Bernis Center for Contemporary Arts)
28: Denver (Globe Hall)
29: Salt Lake City (Urban Lounge)
31: Seattle (Neumos)
1: Portland (Star Theater)
3: San Francisco (THE CHAPEL)
4: Pioneertown (Pappy and Harriet’s)
5: San Diego (The Irenic)
6: Santa Anna (Constellation Room)
7: Los Angeles (Teragram Ballroom)
9: Phoenix (Crescent Ballroom)
11: Dallas (Dads)
12: Austin (Antone’s)
13: Houston (White Oak Music Hall)
14: New Orleans (One Eyed Jacks)
15: Birmingham (Saturn)
16: Nashville (Exit/In)
17: Atlanta (Aisle 5)
18: Carrboro (Cat’s Cradle)
19: Baltimore (Ottobar)