“Is this the Western dream, defend our liberty…”
For me, one of the most anticipated albums of early 2016 is “Hidden City” from the Cult, due in February. I’ve already reviewed the first single of the album, “Dark Energy” in a separate post on BourbonAndVinyl. I have to admit that even though that song has no chorus that I can discern, “Dark Energy” has really grown on me. I would have mixed Ian’s vocals a little higher in the mix, but the interplay between Billy Duffy’s (almost a hard rock Bo Diddley-like) guitar and John Tempesta’s drums is addictive. The Cult have a history in this millennium of releasing kick-ass first singles, so “Dark Energy” had a lot to live up to in my mind.
On Monday afternoon, while still recovering from the wife’s Christmas party, much to my surprise, I discovered the Cult released a second song from “Hidden City” on iTunes entitled “Deeply Ordered Chaos”. Let me start by saying, wow. Actually listening to both songs together, I feel like I’m looking at two pieces from the same puzzle – they fit together but I’m not sure what the entire whole is going to be like. Which is great news after the slightly disjointed way they released the songs on “Choice of Weapon”, their last outing.
“Deeply Ordered Chaos” starts with a slow build. Like “Dark Energy” it starts with an epic Billy Duffy guitar riff. The riff is slower than “Dark Energy” and I would almost describe it as “ominous.” I mean that in a good way. After the slow build guitar entry, Ian Astbury’s vocals begin, “I’m a European, tears fall on the altar.” Once I heard that, I was hooked. I really love this song. There are some restrained strings between the guitar riffs that add to that ominous vibe.
The lyrics support the darker feel of the song. Ian sings of Europe, tears on the altar, Syria must fall. In the middle of the song, he drops to a quietly spoken line, “A child of liberty opened my eyes, defend Paris…” Surely this song was written and recorded long before the heinous attacks on Paris on November 13th, but the entire vibe of the lyrics make this song a perfect backdrop to current events. When Ian sings, “Who you looking at, who you dreaming of, What you leave behind?” it evokes the current-day tension like a screaming headline. Clearly I don’t think the Cult are advocating any kind of retribution here, but are merely capturing a mood. Like all good artists they are likely reflecting the environment they find themselves in. Think Dylan in the 60’s writing “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” right before the Cuban Missile Crisis. Artists have more sensitive antennae than the rest of us.
While I was slightly disappointed with “Dark Energy”, it has grown on me quickly. “Deeply Ordered Chaos” (and by the way, I love that title) hooked me immediately. The song hit me in the lower brain stem and took hold. It’s been on high rotation here at the house for two days now. I was going to wait until the album comes out next year to comment on this song, but it’s a tune that every rock fan needs to hear. I couldn’t wait until February to say something.
Listening to both the new Cult songs together only builds my anticipation for the new album, “Hidden City”. It’ll be interesting to hear how these songs translate live. Typically I have to fly to Denver or Chicago to see the Cult. Oh sure, I’d love to fly to the UK to catch the late February/early March tour of the UK, but alas I’ll have to wait to they come state-side.
Turn this one up loud… and as always, Cheers!