Reason #235 and #234: Love and Electric
I credit this album, and the one that followed, in bringing guitar heroics back to the underground music scene and, ultimately, the mainstream. Billy Duffy is one hell of a guitarist, there is no denying that, and Love is one hell of a good album. It’s not perfect; Ian Astbury’s goth Morrisonisms can be a bit tiresome, but overall I think Love is the Cult’s finest moment. She Sells Sanctuary is the song that broke them in North america, and it remains one of the finest singles of the decade. You could rock out to it, or dance to it, or brood to it, depending on your mood. Rain is its spiritual sister, a little more moody and dramatic but just as effective.
Hollow Man, The Phoenix, Revolution, Nirvana…this album wears it’s psychedelic roots right on it’s sleeve, and of course the music follows suit. The title song is another absolute stunner, an epic almost. The shortest song on the album by the way is 3:56 (Rain), a rarity by 1985 standards.
And then there is Electric, produced by a young Rick Ruben. There is no way to say this other than to just say it: Electric is an AC/DC album. A really good AC/DC album. I happen to love AC/DC, especially Bon Scott AC/DC, but this sounds like the Mutt Lange AC/DC, and up to For Those About To Rock the band couldn’t be matched for a catchy riff. Duffy does a great job and there are riffs aplenty on Electric. In 1987, though, this was definitely not fashionable, and took me and about a million Cult fans by surprise. I have come to really embrace this one, like I have with later day AC/DC, by just turning my brain off and enjoying the brutal, caveman element of the tunes. That’s a terrible description, but I can’t think of any other way to explain it. It’s primal, man. The riffs to Wild Flower, Peace Dog, Lil Devil, and especially Love Removal Machine are just massive fun. It stumbles a bit in the middle, and why the band chose to end the album with a totally unnecessary and quite flaccid cover of Born To Be Wild baffles the mind, but overall Electric remains a classic.
Electric was re-released with an alternate mix of the songs on a second disc called “Peace” ,and this version truly sounds like the follow up to Love. Amazing how your choice of producer can alter the sound of a band…