Today, I was reminded that “She’s Sell Sanctuary” was released on this day, May 17, 1985. Which seemed too coincidental, as the song would also be featured on The Cult’s second album, Love (1985) which 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 Guns N Roses’ 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 this Venn diagram Love sits in the middle.
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 wasn’t totally focused. On their next album, they decided instead of going further down the post-punk terrain to switch gears back to a more psychedelic, classic rock sound, but as “She’s Sell Sanctuary” (the first single from the album) would suggest, it was an entirely different machine embracing a bit of a pop and a more dancefloor friendly direction, as well.
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).
Listen to the title track, The Cult’s “Love” on Cottage Country Mix Vol. 14
Also, another interesting tidbit, 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 (ahem) Wham. However, the proof is in the proverbial “love” pudding on this one and it sounds great. An album that as whole is totally listenable with different moods and tempos. Their next album, after they hooked 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 cottagemixtape.com was something really profound.
Listen to the Cult’s “She’s Sells Sanctuary” on Cottage Country Vol. 13