For those of us who discard the Dreamtime/Southern Death Cult material as not worth mentioning, 1985’s ‘Love’ was the first major release by The Cult. At the time, they were considered a Goth-Alternative band (1987’s ‘Electric’ would change that), and songs like “Brother Wolf, Sister Moon” and “Black Angel” definitely echoe that imagry. To be sure, the vocals and guitars are much more subtle and effect-laden than their latter records, as songs like “Nirvana” sound much like early U2. Nonetheless, it was the get-up-dance tunes like “She Sells Sanctuary” and “Rain” that put this record on the map, and the wah-wah guitar of “The Phoenix” that placed The Cult firmly outside the genre of Goth and more appropriately in the category of Alternative-Rock. Still, the record has a major weakness that many first records have – that is, some of the songs suffer from lyrical blight (“Love” and “Rain” being the most obvious examples).HINT: It’s worth the extra money to track down and purchase the import version of this record, which features two additional tracks, “Little Face” and “Judith”, one of which cannot be found even on the rarities collections.
Domestic reissue of alternative rock band’s 1985 album. Digitally remastered from the original masters with expanded artwork which includes new photos & liner notes. Beggars Banquet.
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I was never a fan of the Cult and had no idea who they were when I mistakenly bought the “She Sells Sanctuary” record single back in 1985. I had figured I might as well listen to the record before returning it. I ended up buying the record at least two more times from the damage that playing the song over and over again did to it.Years have since passed and it is still my all-time favorite song. The song is simply hypnotic and is as close to a “visual” experience as I have ever had listening to music. The decievingly simple lyrics call out against the complex layers of sound that surround them. Together, they fuel the hearth in the album’s central theme and climax, Love.Love is a tribute to what can be accomplished when musicians submit their mind and soul completely to their craft, creating a sound that is pure in its cause and poetry most of all. If such was not the case in the production of this album, then greatness simply sprang forth of its own accord and for its own purposes.Once in a very short while, an album comes along that is required listening. Don’t miss this one!
This is the best recording of rock I’ve ever heard. I got this CD in ‘87, a few years after it was released. Actually, I bought it and “Electric” at the same time, as the latter was just released. I was lucky enough to pick up the original “BEGA 65 CD” (Beggar’s Banquet) version, with the gold lettering on the front cover. It had two extra songs on it (“Little Face” and “Judith”) as well as liner notes–lyrics to all the songs on the CD, inscribed in that odd, neo-egyptian script that you see on the front and back covers of the CD. In 1990, I saw this same CD on a website of RARE recordings going for $60, so if you see it anywhere and its affordable, pick it up. The songs contained within are incredible. Unfortunately, there are a few mellow tunes (“Brother Wolf…” and “Black Angel”) that will really make you want to cry or sleep, depending on your mood. They are good, and the lyrics are well crafted, but they are too long. There are a couple of Euro-Pop tunes (“Nirvana,” “Rain” and “Revolution”) which sound kinda ‘blah’ now, but they are listenable. The true treasures on this Cd alone make it a 5-Star purchase: “Big Neon Glitter,” “Love,” (so good, they used the same riff later for the ELECTRIC version of “Wild Flower”), “The Phoenix,” (no 80’s song rocks this hard or well–not one…it still gives me goose bumps), “Hollow Man,” (I heard a band cover this a few years ago…a buddy at the show asked me, ‘is that a Foo Fighters song?’) and “She Sells Sanctuary.” Though I mentioned it as a negative, “Brother Wolf…” is a great song, too. It’s 7 minutes long, though.There will never be another rock CD like “Love.” Ian and Billy saw to that–they scrapped the follow up album (to be titled, “Peace”) and rerecorded all of the songs with a new sound (“Electric”). In a strange, dysfunctional way, this CD reminds me of Queens of the Stone Age’s “Rated R,” (not the way it sounds) in that it’s innovative, it’s a little ahead of it’s time despite borrowing from earlier genres, and it rocks in so many different ways, and on so many different levels.You wanna now how this CD rocks?!?! Ask Ian: “Like a kiss from the lips of Ra that burns on….rising ever higher….a Phoenix from a pyre…my eternal desire….FIRE!!!”
This album was grunge when the word still meant the sticky stuff you can’t get off the bottom of your shoe. When alternative music was still mired in heavy keyboards and weird hair, this album by the Cult came out of nowhere and still ranks as one of the most powerful guitar-rock albums of all time. This is the album I had been waiting to hear all through my high school years in the early to mid-eighties. I had forgotten about it until I saw Ian Astbury singing lead for the Doors on VH-1 yesterday. “Love” was so good that even the Cult could never match up to it. There isn’t a misstep on here musically. “Revolution,” “Nirvana,” and “She Sells Sanctuary” still send chills through me. Unlike the other ham-handed hair band rock of the 80s, Billy Duffy’s guitar work is just from another planet. Nothing moved me as much as this album until I heard the first notes of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” six years later. The Cult’s next album, “Electric,” was a major disappointment after this, what with Rick Rubin’s overly clean arrangements. “Sonic Temple” was better, but by then they had taken on more of the heavy metal element and less of the alternative. Nevertheless, “Love” is a shining moment.
While U2 often gets credit for creating some of the rare meaningful musical moments of the 80s (and rightfully so), Love by the Cult is perhaps the most overlooked album of greatness from that decade. But let’s not be time-constricted. When this 1985 opus was produced, it was lightyears ahead of its time and still stands true to any test in the new century. The fact of the matter is, just about every rock interest has tried to lay claim to this album and this band. Alt rockers claim it, metal heads claim it, goths claim it. It’s all testiment to the fact that no one has ever been able to pin down the Cult to any label and Love demonstrates that better than anything. She Sells Sanctuary and Rain obviously lean toward the alternative flair. Big Neon Glitter may have some Goth although I always thought the goths were out of line for claiming this album. Then there’s The Phoenix… WOW! a molten deluge of psychadelia laced with incantations and mysticism. The title track of the album is clearly the defining moment. Enigmatic, hypnotic, powerful, Love, the song, cannot be dismissed by any true rock fan. Is it metal or alternative? Sabbath or Smitherines? The lyrics to the song Love are equally elusive, “Gonna drive away in a big fast car, gonna drive away won’t get too far, gonna drive away don’t know how far, gonna drive away in a big fast car… don’t you love those sweet times…”What the hell is lead singer Ian Astburry talking about? I don’t know, but it sounds damn good. This album also launches and hallmarks the talents of guitar journeyman Billy Duffy. While Duffy has made strides and vaunted efforts since Love, he has yet to repeat the tight-wired sound and pin-point accuracy as has been captured on this work. Duffy is a guitar virtuoso who has been woefully overlooked in the random and subjective discussions among rock fans and critics alike.Love, the album, also demonstrates the will to advance and evolve. The previous effort in album by the Cult, Dreamtime, is infantile in comparison. It’s hard to believe this is the same band that spat out Dreamtime in some makeshift Duran Duran poser mistake only one year prior to the production of Love. Love lifts this band to levels few others have even thought about. It’s a lofty level that even The Cult has not repeated. As Ian Astburry says in the title track, “I believe in love, I believe in my visions. I’ll travel far.” To not have this album in your collection is akin to having a missing link in the armour of any rock warrior.Your most humble and loyal servant,DixonatorAdventurer/patriot extraordinaire