From College To Paradise

Originally Published In The Daily Free Press on 1/25/12

Unless you’re on the Bill Gates level of hyper-genius, dropping out of college is generally considered a poor decision. However, don’t tell Cults that. The two-piece band comprised of two college dropouts played a solid show in front of a sold out Paradise Rock Club audience on Saturday.

Cults rose to prominence from two New School students uploading music for their friends on BandCamp.com to a major label act headlining national tours has been quite meteoric.  After their debut album dropped this summer, Cults dueled with Foster The People for title of top indie buzz-band with the most radio friendly, feel-good, hits of the summer.

Cults and a three touring musicians delivered a fun, yet unremarkable set on Saturday. No they’re not music virtuosos, but the young duo of Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion can seriously craft some catchy tunes centered on 1960s girl-group aesthetics. Follin’s voice sometimes lost itself in the Paradise sound mix, but sounded stronger than expected. Touring drummer Marc Deriso was the unsung star of the night, playing tight and straightforward beats without ever giving into the selfish instincts of every drummer.

Starting the night the catchy and organ-rich “Abducted,” Cults played a short set complete with their friendly throwback cuts. Songs such as “Most Wanted” and “Never Saw the Point” (a song Oblivion remarked is about dropping out) shone bright on Saturday, but the wave of bright 60’s influenced tunes dragged on a bit. However, Cults’ cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” was a standout moment as the band showed that they could actually play a convincing dark and dirty piece of music, something I hope they explore in their next release.

Of course, the night ended with Cults’ hit, “Go Outside.” The xylophone-heavy song popped in the live setting and Oblivion’s guitar shred through the haze of organ and throwback indie.

It should be interesting to chart the progress of Cults over the next few years. While they’ve got the sunny 1960s sound down, they should continue to expand their sound; perhaps a bit louder, complicated, and darker.

Until then, stay in school…unless you’re Cults.


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