Just when you think that you’ve heard all there is to hear in the realm of experimental music, newcomers Cults emerge on the scene. Captivating ears with their ragged blend of girlish vocals and action-packed backings, Cults deliver one of the year’s most promising listens with their self-titled debut. Their warm, fuzzy collection of tinkling hooks and lazy chords bring a much-needed freshness to a music scene that has grown tired and predictable.
San Francisco natives Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion are the minds behind this pop project and have already achieved fame long before the release of their debut. After merely a few seconds into the album, it’s not hard to understand why. Exploring the universal themes of love and loss, the duo convey a sort of quiet pleasantry that still manages to excite. “You Know What I Mean” has a foundation of mid-tempo beats and sweet murmurings yet intersperses powerful buildups throughout the piece. Likewise, the beauty of “The Curse” lies in a simple, bluesy guitar line but the minimalism quickly turns into an enthralling complexity with Follin’s sultry harmonies.
What catches listeners by surprise is their almost perfect balance between soothing and dynamic melodies. It’s hard not to fall in love with cutesy vocals that belt out experiences that we are all too familiar with. But when these pleasant sounds are coupled with psychedelic hooks that continue to tease and entertain, the result is an album that you can constantly blast on repeat — all the time discovering new and enchanting tidbits.
Cynthia Kang is the arts editor.