Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On Repeat: Cults - You Know What I Mean

How many hits does it take for a "one-hit wonder" to shake that hyphenated plague? Are there two-hit wonders? Can you even a be "wonder" if you haven't even released an album yet? So many questions, so little material for snarky bloggers to anoint as "the next big thing" or to release the waves of backlash. Cults is a fitting name for a band who charmed the blogosphere (yours truly included) in 2010 with "Go Outside", and then proceeded to release next-to-nothing with the indie world at large ready to eat out of the palm of their hand. Everyone drank the Kool-Aid, and we wanted more, damn it. Well last week, Cults quietly released a new song on their website that somehow managed to improve upon the perfect and recapture their buzz in advance of their album release in May.

The title "You Know What I Mean" sounds like something the Bloodhound Gang would release, complete with countless euphemisms and probably some animals thrown in for good measure, but in the capable hands of Cults, it sounds like an uncovered Supremes song. The gentle guitar swirl and the irresistible Unchained Melody-inspired picking are like a 50 year old time-capsule, a feeling that continues once Madeline Follin enters with her gorgeous voice. She achingly and breathlessly croons about her shaky, fearful brain, begging to be saved from the light and the prospect of sleeping alone. She sings with an earnestness miles away from sultry and more reminiscent of a scared child climbing into her parents bed after a bad dream, calmed just by the whispered assurance that "everything's ok". It's a feeling nobody grows out of.

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