mon 17/06/2024

CD: The Cult - Hidden City | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Cult - Hidden City

CD: The Cult - Hidden City

Album no.10 from Ian Astbury and co. is patchy, but entertaining

A wild flower, yesterday

The Cult, functionally Ian Astbury, Billy Duffy and whoever else is joining them at any given time, have, like a peculiarly showy chameleon, constantly changed their colours without ever blending in. From goth pirates banging out breakthrough, incense-smoked anthems, they've progresssed through hoary heroics of cock-rock cliché, to dark, occasionally industrial and deeply confessional folly.

Refusing to rest on their extravagant laurels, The Cult have largely avoided the heritage shades of many of their peers. Yes, there were a couple of tours to celebrate the albums Love and Electric, but they've managed to release new material with surprising regularity. Hidden City is their 10th studio album and completes a near decade-spanning trilogy that started with Born Into This (2007) and continued through 2012’s Choice of Weapon.

Like both of its predecessors, Hidden City is made up of a handful of stand-out songs held in place with an extraordinary amount of filler. There's a lively enough opening with “Dark Energy” stomping along, stopping just short of sticking its thumbs in its belt loops, followed by the bold dynamics of “No Love Lost”. The energy levels peter out during “Dance the Night”, however, and by the time “In Blood” starts up, there’s a real worry that, for seasoned rock professionals, The Cult have seriously toploaded their latest joint. It takes a couple of songs to get there, but the heads-down, heavy blues rock of “GOAT” sees them regain much surer footing, before “Lilies” adopts a softer, more reflective tone. After repeated listening, this has become something of a standout, although I've still to work out exactly why. By the end, though, the predominent thought is that there probably wasn’t a wealth of material to work with in the first place.

Overall, Hidden City’s problem is that too often it pounds where it should punch. It hasn't got the hips to roll when it rocks. And that's a shame, because it is, in parts, great fun. Ultimately, however, it's an album that begs to be defined by what it isn’t, rather than what it is.

 See overleaf for the video to "Dark Energy"



Too often, Hidden City lacks the hips to roll when it rocks. And that's a shame, because it is, in parts, great fun


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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