Livin’ in a shack in a one-horse town
Trying to get to heaven ‘fore the sun goin’ down

Not wishing to be one of those crude blogger chaps that the internet is full of these days, but I have just had an eargasm.  I haven’t sat down and listened to the Cult Electric for what feels like hundreds of years, although it was a big fave of mine when it came out – I’ve just made do with isolated tracks for ages.  I do remember a few folk of my acquaintance were really quite disappointed that the band were abandoning the smooth goth rock of Love for a BIG ROCK SOUND, much as I, umm, love Love I wasn’t sorry at all right from the first time I heard the advance single of ‘Love Removal Machine’.

Cult Electric 01

I was a fully formed rocker by 1987, I just didn’t have very much music yet*, so all the controversy over the fact that Electric was a wholesale appropriation of hard rock’s greatest hits was all a bit lost on me.  Even though the opener ‘Wild Flower’ basically stole the riff from my third favourite AC/DC song ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer’ to a frightening extent, a crime so obvious that I missed it – a bit like two guys walking into your house and stealing your sofa whilst you were sitting on it, you’d be so flabbergasted by the cheek of the act that you’d forget to stop them.  You know what though? it doesn’t detract from its brilliance one iota, not even a demi-semi iota.  ‘Wild Flower’ being chiefly notable for a) Kickin’ ass** b) being Ian Astbury’s first recorded declaration that he isn’t a slightly comical man from Bradford, but a ‘wolf child, baby’.

The other thing to point out that is that under Rick Rubin’s tutelage The Cult were a completely irony free zone.  When Astbury sang ‘I’m a wolf child, baby / I’m howlin’ for you’, this wasn’t a knowing tip of the hat to past hyperbolic statements of rock masculinity – he really meant it.  In that moment he truly believes that he is a feral love beast, sleek of coat and sharp of fang, lookin’ to do some matin’.  He suckled a wolf’s teats^.

Cult Electric 02

Possibly tied into this no distance straight-forward approach is the fact that what really impresses me about Electric today is the fact that the performance on this album is just incredible – the band just hurl themselves at the material as though their very lives depended upon it.  Talk about every light in the house burning – all the meters in the red.  Wow.  For me, almost more than the few classic tracks here, is what makes this such a special LP, the momentum gained is what carries some of the less brilliant songs here.  You simply can’t argue with Billy Duffy’s guitar set to ‘slay’, or Astbury howling his million gratuitous ‘Baby’s’ at you.

Cult Electric 04

Okay so ‘Wild Flower’, Lil Devil’ and ‘Love Removal Machine’ get a lot of rock rotation in this house, but it was fun having a proper listen again to a few long-forgotten friends.  The choppy ‘Electric Ocean’ with its daft (even by Cult standards) lyrics, note to band an actual, real electric ocean would be a really bad thing to be anywhere near – it’s up there with the walk-in toaster as a concept; it’s a physics thing.  Nobody needed a cover of ‘Born To Be Wild’ but that didn’t stop the Cult giving it to us, hard.  It lacks all the nuances of the original of course, but it’s wonderfully over the top and, as always, I assumed it was an original of theirs for years, plus that sheet-lightning guitar squall at the end lives up to the LP’s name, perfectly.

Cult Electric 03

Rubin needs additional props for what a great sounding album Electric is, everything recorded just so.  I hadn’t noticed that Andy Wallace was on board for this one too, or that none other than Storm Thorgeson was the art director.  Also some credit needs to be wafted towards the rhythm section of Jamie Stewart and Les Warner, I really like Warner’s drumming style when he hits ’em they stay hit.

I loved this album at the time and it really stormed my defences again tonight, much more so than I thought it would.  That makes me a happy little blogger, or maybe just a wolf child bloggin’ at the moon, baby.

But enough of me, I believe it was Friedrich Nietzsche who once said,

Sittin’ on a mountain, looking at the sun
Plastic fantastic lobster telephone
Drive on baby, through the electric night
All the way sister, in the taxi of life.

The rest is silence.

503 Down.

PS: Two cuttings that amused me enough to make it into THE MIGHTY SCRAP BOOKS OF ROCK.  (TTT was the funny page in the NME):

Cult 01

Cult 02

*If I’d had a blog then I’d have had to have called it 7.  Oh and drawn it out on paper and stuff, just like in the renaissance and shit.

**We’re in rock world now, adjectives aren’t allowed to have a ‘g’ on the end of them – the gods don’t like it. Bitchin’.

^Dear Mr Astbury’s legal team, hello again, this is one of those extended metaphor thingys not an allegation of bestiality.  Although that hasn’t stopped me taggin’ this post ‘wolf teats’.

25 thoughts on “Wolf Teats

      1. Just the mandatory listen to “Fire Woman”. I’ve since listened to and rather enjoyed the older stuff, but back in the day I was pretty Cult-ignorant.

      2. I can distinctly remember my brother having this one and ‘Love’ on cassette, though not because he liked The Cult. It’s that “did it for the nookie” thing once again. Can’t say as I blame him as Valerie was one hot gal. I was the annoying younger brother that would never leave the room when she was over and they were on the couch watching TV. She was tall, long, curly black hair, olive complexion…

        Wait, what were we talking about?

      3. Hmm, Valerie …

        That’s the beauty of not living anywhere near (in UK terms – I know you US folks will drive 300 miles just to stock up on bread) where I grew up, I never get to see what these adolescent crushes of mine became later in life – obviously, I get hotter day by day!!

      1. Dunno. It’s Ian Astbury. That whole poor man’s Jim Morrison thing he’s got going on. Haven’t really been able to enjoy The Cult for a while now. I might just, though.


        Ach … aye, okay then.

  1. One of the all time greats ….speaking of great! Great review Mr 1537 and for a shameless plug i reviewed this one myself and I state that Electric has one of the best drum mixes I have ever heard especially during Peace Dog man that snare and hi hat are crisp sounding! Luv It!
    Once again totally enjoyed this 1!

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