What happens when a blossoming and critically acclaimed gothic rock band decides to recruit the go-to producer for Def Jam Records in an attempt at reinvention? That is the question every eyeliner trimmed goth rock fan this side of the Atlantic was asking about The Cult in 1987…
And Electric was the answer that Ian Astbury and company unleashed upon the MTV generation of the ‘80s.
The spooky, hippie aesthetic didn’t make the transition, but Electric opened The Cult up to the fist-pumping world of arena-sized hard rock. From the opening guitar riff of “Wild Flower” it’s apparent that things had changed in The Cult’s world. Billy Duffy’s guitar tone has more in common with AC/DC than the washy, glittery tones of Love– but once Ian Astbury’s voice joins the festivities, it quickly begins to feel like The Cult.
After “Wild Flower”, the band powers through “Peace Dog” and “Lil’ Devil”– which have all become staples of their live set. It isn’t until “Aphrodisiac Jacket” that Electric’s pace slows down. With a delta blues-inspired riff and cranked 100 watt Marshall sound, “Aphrodisiac Jacket” sounds similar to the offerings on Danzig’s 1988 self-titled album.
The second half of the album delivers more hard-rocking riffs via “Bad Fun” and “King Contrary Man” all while showcasing the fleet-fingered talents of Billy Duffy. If I had one complaint it would be the inclusion of “Born To Be Wild”. History normally isn’t overwhelmingly kind to rock bands who drastically change their image and sound between albums. Be that as it may, The Cult beat the odds here.