More spooky neo-folk provocations arrive from Sacred Bones with a third record from mainstays Cult of Youth, a quintessential label act that stitch all the darkness together until the fractures of light are well beaten. 'Final Days' suggests a hearty apocalypse, and the band use tne end times to further explore their interest in punk and psychedelia -- basically any genre that begins with a P. Part of the press release reads: "Addendum: Real human bones were used on this recording and a portion of the lyrics were written in jail." Oh Sacred Bones, you're so scary.
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Cult of Youth predominantly trade in neo-folk, but have roots in punk and postpunk, the results of which are intense and interestingly sinister, and like the album’s title suggests, ‘Final Days’ sounds particularly apocalyptic.
Attempting to improve upon the winning formula of 2012’s Love Will Prevail, ‘Final Days’ is similarly brooding, but there seems to be a more heightened appreciation of postpunk and psychedelic here with its gloomy, often-crooning baritone vocals and occasional fractions of guitar jangle. It’s a mixed bag in terms of coherence and continuity -the album’s opener isn’t exactly indicative of what to expect on the rest of the LP: though appropriately sombre, the instrumental track lacks the components of what makes some of the album’s most prevailing moments, particularly singer Sean Ragan’s dynamic vocal style.
If Cult of Youth completely eschewed their neo-folk tendencies for something more in line with their proneness for punk, then, ‘Final Days’ could be a better record. ‘Empty Fraction’, for example, is one of the stronger tracks on the LP. Recalling punk more overtly, alongside mid-90s hardcore, the jagged, furiously strummed guitar lines sounds like something from Wire’s Pink Flag, while the shouted vocals are more evocative of hardcore punk than the singer’s usual gothic style.
Frantic and unnerving, Cult of Youth’s third LP is-once again, evidence that you could not put a band with a more fitting record label. Released via Sacred Bones, ‘Final Days’ is a continuation of the band’s proclivity for melding genres and sub genres somewhat triumphantly; depending on how much of it you can stand.
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