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Cults You'll Want To Join

Self-titled debut sounds like summer


Hazy Brooklyn duo Cults just dropped this summer's Person Pitch.

Like Panda Bear's acclaimed 2007 release, Cults' self-titled debut combines sun-drenched reverb with waterlogged loops and swirling samples. But Cults spices up that windows-down, sunburned-shoulders blueprint with a finger-snapping, girl-group vibe and Jackson 5-worthy pop hooks. It's like if the entirety of Sleigh Bells' Treats sounded like their sugarpop single "Rill Rill."

When couple Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin released their summery 7-inch single "Go Outside" in 2010, music blogs went nuts for their reverb-heavy, bubblegum charm and relative obscurity.

But "Go Outside,"--like most of the full-length's tracks--reveals a darker side on subsequent listens. The song begins, amid Fisher Price xylophone pings, with a crackly sound bite of cult leader Jim Jones saying, "To me, death is not a fearful thing, it's living that is treacherous." Soon, Follin's voice busts in, hitting Michael Jackson highs: "I really want to go out / I really want to go outside and stop to see your day / You really want to hole up / You really want to stay inside and sleep the light away."

Other songs, like the echoey, doo-wop ballad "You Know What I Mean," play with contrast. The track starts off with a silky, '50s prom vibe that escalates to a full-throttle, drums-crashing chorus and then dissolves back into a sexy, XX-ish sparseness.

While Cults' looped-out, Motown sound conjures up a ton of comparisons--new and old--it remains inexplicably fresh. Cults has blended the best bits of your record collection and, in the process, come up with something irresistibly charming and wholly their own.