BY MICHAEL TOLAND
In 1985, the Cult scored success with Love and its singles “She Sells Sanctuary” and “Rain,” fresh blends of 70s hard rock, 60s psychedelia and early 80s dancefloor rhythms. By 1986, the band recorded its follow-up Peace with Love producer Steve Brown, but was dissatisfied with the results. The quartet re-recorded the entire LP with Rick Rubin, dropping some songs and adding others. The result was Electric, which made the band an arena-filling attraction. For years afterwards, bits of Peace dribbled out as B-sides and EP tracks, before it appeared in its entirety on a now out-of-print box set. Now it’s been re-released with Electric in tow so fans can play “Spot the Difference.”
The biggest contrast is, naturally, the sound. Rubin’s dry production gives the drums and Billy Duffy’s riffology an organic warmth eliminating psychedelic pretentions, which serves the likes of “Lil’Devil” (found only on Electric) and the wildly over-the-top “Electric Ocean” well. Brown’s then-contemporary sonic sheen, while admittedly dated, adds fullness and texture to the band’s trippier creations, letting the acid soak “Aphrodisiac Jacket” and the grooving “Rain” rewrite “Zap City” (only on Peace). Ian Astbury is his usual wailing self regardless of setting, so the differences come down to how you like your Duffyisms – stripped-down and dry, or layered and wet? Fortunately with Electric Peace you can have both.
DOWNLOAD: “Aphrodisiac Jacket” [Peace version], “Zap City”