The Cult revisit their primal selves.
In their commercial heyday The Cult were that improbable band that bridged the gap between The Cure and Guns N’ Roses (who eventually nicked their drummer), floating in a psychedelic suspension spiritually derived from The Doors (who Cult singer Ian Astbury eventually fronted…sort of) and otherwise inhabited by only occasional others like Jane’s Addiction. When Metallica hired Bob Rock to produce The Black Album, it was allegedly to chase the tones and polish he achieved with The Cult on Sonic Temple. The lazy man’s storyline on Choice of Weapon is Rock’s return and the fact that facially Choice of Weapon, like Sonic Temple, fuses the arena-ready rock of Electric with the mercurial tones of Love, resulting in… a Cult record that sounds like a Cult record.
What’s most compelling about this record, though, is that it has a more turbulent soul than a 2012 record from a band that has been around for this long really ought to, probably due at least in part to time spent in the desert with the album’s other producer Chris Goss (Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss). From the drug-pop of “Honey From a Knife” to the vision-dreams of “Elemental Light,” Astbury remains an oddball, shamanistic cat, while Billy Duffy buttresses his singer’s weirder flights of fancy with workmanlike guitar dazzle. Even what sounds like a dead-on reworking of earlier hits like “The Wolf” comes off as unapologetically natural. As always the music imagines that Cult space where the arena, the peyote sweat lodge, the abandoned cathedral and the Berlin leather club all become one, and you get the sense that here and only here are they truly in their element. Offering catchy music with a twisted core, The Cult continue to thrive by sticking to their basic muse, and they are showing pretty much no signs of rust.