THE BAND: Ian Astbury (vocals) and Billy Duffy (guitars) are/were the main members of The Cult. They’ve had a host of others helping in the way of other guitarists, keyboardists, bassists, and drummers…. mainly Jaime Stewart (guitar, bass), James Stevenson (guitar), Bob Rock (guitar, keyboards), John Sinclair (keyboards), Ritchie Zito (keyboards), John Webster (keyboards), Kinley Wolfe (bass), Craig Adams (bass), Charley Drayton (bass), Nigel Preston (drums), Matt Sorum (drums), Scott Garrett (drums), Michael Lee (drums), and Mickey Curry (drums).
THE DISC: (2000) 19 tracks clocking in at approximately 77 minutes. Included with the disc is a 14-page booklet containing a 6-page intro to the band and their albums, song titles/credits (no lyrics), band photos, what songs came from which albums and the year released. The songs here follow the band from 1984-1995 (as the title states). Remastered sound. Label – Beggars Banquet.
ALBUM REPRESENTATION: Dreamtime (2 songs), Love (3), Electric (3), Sonic Temple (4), Ceremony (2), The Cult (2), Unreleased (3).
COMMENTS: Still trying to figure out why The Cult has 2 differently named compilations with only 1 song being the difference between the two (this disc, and 1996’s “High Octane Cult”)… the two songs “Go West” (from “The Singles” album) and “Beauty’s On The Street” (from “High Octane”) are both simply unimportant songs. The music on “The Singles” is digitally remastered so if I’m standing in the music store with both in hand, I’ll choose this one. I read decades ago that Astbury and Duffy were difficult to get along with… perhaps this is why they couldn’t get 2-3 additional members to stay on a more permanent basis… seems like every album there was different personnel on supporting instruments (bass/keyboards/drums). With that being said, Astbury and Duffy wrote some great music. Covering several spectrums – rock, hard rock (some classified as metal, but I’ll call it borderline metal), punk, psychedelic, and alternative. The studio albums were up and down… often times mixing some wonderful melodies, hard rocking songs, and a few oddballs that were just plain weird (and some annoying). Astbury’s distinctive vocals was the first thing that hooked me in. Duffy’s guitar licks were simple, but catchy (he’s no Satriani, Malsteen, or Vai). As far as this compilation goes, the songs chosen are dead on accurate… I couldn’t have picked them better myself. The staples are all here – including “She Sells Sanctuary”, “Fire Woman”, “Love Removal Machine”, “Sweet Soul Sister”, “Lil’ Devil”, “Edie (Ciao Baby)”, etc. The tracks from “Dreamtime” (1984) and “Love” (1985) are very 80’s in style (they could easily be inserted to any number of John Huges’ movies…”16 Candles”, “Breakfast Club”, “Pretty In Pink”… almost Duran Duran or Haircut 100 in flavor. The later 80’s and into the 90’s saw The Cult in hard rock form. Even though “Sonic Temple” was the band’s most commercially successful release (featuring 4 decent hits), “Electric” was always my favorite of theirs due to the break-through songs “Love Removal machine”, “Lil’ Devil” and “Wild Flower”. The Cult always had their own sound, but if I had to put them into a category… they’d be in with the likes of Billy Idol, The Pretenders, and the Clash. With so many band member changes, each album had a slightly different feel to it… to me, this was intriguing aspect of The Cult’s sound and their albums. Some great tunes here from an underrated British band. “The Singles 1984-95″ is a great intro to Astbury and Duffy’s “Cult” (5 stars).