Day 4/10 Album Challenge: The Cult – “Love” (1985)

Day 4 in our 10 day album challenge, after a lil 2 day nap. Today, I was reminded that “She’s Sell Sanctuary” was released on this day, May 17, 1985. Which seemed too coincidental, as The Cult’s second album, Love features that song and was next on my list. I was surprised to see how many other people chose this album as well on their top 10 albums on Facebook (friends and acquaintances). However, I guess it shouldn’t really be surprised, as it is one of the most enduring rock albums of the 1980’s (next to maybe “Appetite For Destruction“) but even then I think this album has aged better than the latter. It is a pivotal album that encumbered so many styles goth/classic rock/alternative/80s/dance/pop. In the Venn diagram it sits in the middle.

She Sells Sanctuary…. by the seashore (oof!) featured on Cottage Country Vol. 13.

Before “Love” the Cult was previously known as the Southern Death Cult and were (more or less) a post-punk, goth outfit with their first album, Dreamtime (1984). They had potential, but their sound was totally focused. Instead of going further down the post-punk terrain, they decided to switch gears back to a more psychedelic, classic rock sound, but as “She’s Sell Sanctuary” (the first single) would suggest, it was an entirely different machine embracing a bit of a pop / dance-floor friendly direction, as well.

From left to right: Ian Astbury, Jamie Stewart and Billy Duff. You can’t be a Cult with only two members.

You can definitely hear both Ian Astbury (vocals) and Billy Duff (guitars) becoming lead men (as it were) but it can’t be under expressed, though, how important some of the other players were. Jamie Stewart (bass), who played on the first four Cult albums was really an integral part of the band (i think) who was also accredited with strings and keyboards on this album. Mark Brzezicki (from Big Country) played the drums on every song except “She Sells Sanctuary” and if you can recall the drum intro of their song “Big Country“, you can see also how his drumming contributed to this album, like human drum machine with sizzle and groove (how the song “Love” is just hooked around that cowbell). Also, they didn’t get the producer they originally wanted or at least through some sort of miscommunication the one they asked for. Instead they got producer Steve Brown, who amongst other acts, produced Wham. However, the proof is in the proverbial “love” pudding. An album that as whole is totally listenable with different moods and tempos.

Their next album, after hooking up with prolific-producer Rick Rubin, would follow a more linear, in your face rock and roll direction, which perhaps they were destined for. So, I am not mad at “Electric” or “Sonic Temple” by any means, but it was the “Love” album that to was something really profound.

Songs from Cult’s “Love” album appear on Cottage Country Mix:

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