In the age of the Interwebs, buying a record – actually walking up to a cash register, or clicking the buy button on iTunes – before knowing everything there is to know about a band is rare. It almost seems foolish, given there is so much information available. But I’m here to tell you how exhilarating it is to step out into the unknown with $7.99 of your hard earned money on the line, and buy an album on faith. Just like eating at a new restaurant or introducing yourself to a stranger, there is risk involved, but the rewards are more meaningful when you’ve ventured out of your comfort zone. My Tuesday buying spree included a few albums I knew I’d love – I’d heard streams of them online – but it also included a band I knew little about: Cults. After just a quick glance at a review and a few fleeting moments with Amazon’s woefully brief song previews (seriously, they need to follow in iTunes’ footsteps and lengthen that shizz), I pulled the trigger and bought their eponymous debut album on iTunes. This is dorky, but I was so jazzed up about the mystery of what I’d purchased that I waited to jump in until I knew I’d be able to listen to the whole thing, uninterrupted, on a long run. Well, it started as a long run but ended up being fairly short, but it was 95 degrees outside BACK OFF IT WAS REALLY HOT, OK? Turns out the album is really, really good, and has some cool musical DNA. I hear a kinship with 50’s and 60’s pop, with enough reverb to make Chris Isaak’s guitar blush, but there’s a fascinating Motown streak that runs through these songs, especially their tune, “You Know What I Mean.” This track shows off Cults’ ability to craft well-rounded songs with effective layering of peripheral elements, like strings, snaps and piano, but “You Know What I Mean” also showcases the band’s grit – Madeline Follin’s vocals have a fierceness that really grabs you. I encourage you to get grabbed by previewing the tune below, and grabbing their album for yourself.
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