Cults – Static

written by: October 8, 2013
Album-art-for-Static-by-Cults Release Date:


Mysterious indie-pop rockers Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion, aka Cults, are here with their second attempt through Columbia records, Static. The group is known for its bubbly hit single “Go Outside,” as well as its time spent on tour with the likes of Passion Pit and Foster the People.

Cults is characteristically echo-heavy and instrumentally driven, although Oblivion’s music has a tendency to blend together with Follin’s voice to make one uniform sound. Not surprisingly, this can be a bit confusing at times, but for the most part the duo is able to pull off a psychedelic, spacey vibe that justifies the heavy use of effects.

That being said, Cults has a very distinct sound that doesn’t change at all over the course of the album.

As a whole, Static is rarely engaging. It acts better as background music at a hipster party than music to sit down and listen through in one’s free time.

There are some good moments on the record, but none of the music is truly attention-grabbing. If you don’t pay close attention, the entire album sounds like a single, 30-minute song.

Despite all of this criticism, Static has some diamonds in the rough. Cults’ overall theme and style doesn’t evolve, but there are certain golden moments that stand out, making Static a solid album.

“High Road” has an awesome drum beat and catchy instrumentals. Oblivion’s added vocals bring an extra element that doesn’t show very frequently on the rest of the record, and it’s definitely missed when its gone.

Cults needs to head in the direction of tracks like “Were Before,” which starts off with Oblivion singing. The two voices sound beautiful together, and Static would have been a lot more interesting if it featured more harmonies. Follin’s unvaried voice with the same old echo effect gets tiring after a while, and  Oblivion’s additional vocals act as a breath of fresh air.

Cults doesn’t explore very much new ground on this release, but it does improve its old habits.

Static sounds like an enhanced version of the duo’s self-titled debut released in 2011; it’s more mature, fluid, and in control.

However, the group still falls short where it did two years ago: it lacks emotion. Static doesn’t jump out and grab you because there’s no real feeling in the music. The only true exceptions are the truncated “TV Dream,” which highlights Follin’s exceptional pipes, and the final track “No Hope.”

Cults’ greatest asset is Oblivion’s mastery of the instrumentals. He uses captivating effects and makes engaging drum beats, both of which add a lot to the overall product.

In the end, Static is a decent sophomore release. Cults didn’t just regurgitate its old style; it took that sound and ever so slightly improved it. This album doesn’t break new ground, but not everything needs to. Fans of the old stuff will enjoy this sound, but newcomers may want to test the waters before actually coughing up cash for Static.

Cults – Static tracklist:

  1. “I Know”
  2. “I Can Hardly Make You Mine”
  3. “Always Forever”
  4. “High Road”
  5. “Were Before”
  6. “So Far”
  7. “Keep Your Head Up”
  8. “TV Dream”
  9. “We’ve Got It”
  10. “Shine A Light”
  11. “No Hope”