Does the Spill still do AOTWs? Ok then, do we do proper rock albums? (be nice, you hecklers in the front).
1985. MTV Launched stateside in 1984. The US was flooded with pretty Britpoppers making pretty Britsongs. A quick gander at the top tunes of the year shows the charts populated with the likes of AHA, Simple Minds, Wham, Duran Duran, Paul Young, Thompson Twins, Sting, etc. Meanwhile rocks offerings were neutered down to the likes of Starship, REO Speedwagon, Bryan Adams, and Foreigner. (Thank fuck for Prince and the Smiths).
A somewhat recent (ok, so it’s been 2 years by now) university grad sits catatonically in front of MTV. Somewhere in between drooling over Power Station and AHA videos, the strains of a Within You Without You-ish guitar intro leads into another band setup that’s very pretty indeed. The lead singer looks like he wandered into the video from the Summer of Love. Guitarist switched at birth with Dolph Lundgren. But wait a minute…that sounds like proper hard rock! And it’s so pretty! Sweet balm indeed to RTJ’s poor rock starved ears.
What a blast of badly needed fresh air She Sells Sanctuary was. No fluke either – the follow up single Rain proved that it wasn’t a one-off. I never actually owned this album back in the day, (i had just unloaded my vinyl collection in anticipation of a move to NYC), so i’ve picked it up piecemeal song by song. So I’ll quote some Amazon reviews that sum it up better than i can.
When this 1985 opus was produced, it was lightyears ahead of its time and still stands true to any test in the new century. The fact of the matter is, just about every rock interest has tried to lay claim to this album and this band. Alt rockers claim it, metal heads claim it, goths claim it. It’s all testiment to the fact that no one has ever been able to pin down the Cult to any label and Love demonstrates that better than anything.
one of the greatest and most unique rock albums of the 1980s. Combining melodic hard rock with gothic and punk overtones, Love presents The Cult at their creative peak.
I need to have a quick word about the guitars. Ian Astbury’s vocals were rightly lauded, but Billy Duffy’s guitar work seems to be damned with faint praise. I’m not having it. Duffy co-wrote all of the songs with Astbury, and it’s his ability to combine melody with the driving rock chops that bail out even the most tiresome of the Cult’s songs and make them listenable. Respect.
The Cult has gone through more than a few breakups and re-inventions since Love, most notably as a (proper! imho, but others beg to differ) metal band. But Love was something special. Obviously the Cult realized it as well – they launched the Love Live tour in 2009 to play the full album live. So without further ado -
Now wouldn’t i just Love to see that. First three songs – Nirvana, Big Neon Glitter, and Love – are guitar driven scorchers. To these ears, power ballads aren’t the Cult’s strong suit, so i’d take a cigarette break for Brother Wolf, Sister Moon. But i’d be sure to get back to my seat in time for Rain, psychedelic barnstormer Phoenix, and then Hollow Man. Revolution is a bit of MOR meh, but i’d sit through it so as not to miss She Sells Sanctuary. I’d stay for the Black Angel finale, but only to be polite, and hope for a surprise encore.
I’ll finish off with a clip of Sanctuary performed in 1999. A decade before the Love Live tour, 14 years after Love. Definitely sounding more metallic than 80′s live performances, and all the better for it to me. Enjoy.
Special thanks due to Mr. Maki here. This is my first music player post, and your manual instructions couldn’t have been easier to follow. Kudos.