Sad hits for all the family (lest there are happy members of it), it's the brand new record by not-at-all-super stars Cult Party! This wonderful band may have been a solitary, self-preserving bedroom band once upon a time, but on And Then There Was This Sound songwriter Leo Robinson opens up his sounds with the help of pals including weirdo rocker Kiran Leonard. Creative and wayward without sacrificing the delicate and skeletal sound of old, this record is bound to be special.
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I hate to be that guy who uses the words ‘headphones record’, but is this ever one; we just listened to it in the office and it was fine, but confine it to an airless vacuum around your ears and the damn thing gains and gains. Stuffier, it gets sadder, and lonelier, it gets more engaging. In your cans, it’s a mini-masterpiece.
Cult Party is the pet project of Leo Robinson, an overachieving bedroom artist who has here expanded his sound for a cast of players including math rock maverick Kiran Leonard. Despite its downbeat, acoustic-oriented aesthetic, ‘And Then There Was This Sound’ is a bold, aspirational record of suites and segues, sweeping through the twenty minute emo prog epic “Hurricane Girl” before any other business can be done. At first I didn’t realise it was one whole tune, but hearing it now it makes perfect sense: starting as a solo rumination, it’s accented by gorgeous, close harmonies before nylon-stringed arpeggios and droning hums whittle away time, echoing the beauty of Sun Kil Moon on “Duk Koo Kim”. Startling stuff that proves just how good front-loading your record with that twenty minute track can be.
The record’s second side is no less wonderful. Spread over three tracks, Robinson continues experimenting, inducing “Rabbit Dog” with a state of psychedelic folk, its sauntering beat and pastoral riff bringing about euphoric gang chants. “I Got the Blues This Morning” implements a swelling string section for a tune that sounds like something out of a Nico record, shooting through the Sunday morning coffee scenting an empty living room. The textural scratches of “Pastures of Plenty” are pure Mount Eerie, a doomy disillusion that absent-mindedly rounds off an absolute gem of a record that’s trying, through economical means, to tip its hat to all its influences at once. And succeeding. Always succeeding.
8/10 Kenneth 24th August 2018
Worth it for the first song alone. Still have to get to turning the thing over actually.
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