“Pure Cult: The Singles 1984-1995″ is a collection of singles by the Cult during the band’s initial lifetime, stretching from the band’s early days as psychedelic goths through the band’s hard rock days and their eventual fade. The Cult seemed to have a knack for picking fantastic material for singles and this overview will provide most casual fans with pretty much eveything they need. For the more diehard types, there’s a trio of single-only releases on this album that deserve attention.
The Cult rose from from the ashes of the Southern Death Cult– a goth band in the early ’80s featuring vocalist Ian Astbury that split up after issuing only one single (it along with other studio and live material available has been released under the title “Southern Death Cult”). Astbury, a singer of enormous presence, had reportedly grown bored with the goth style and formed a new band with Theatre of Hate guitarist Billy Duffy. The new project was called the Death Cult and after issuing an EP and a single (collected as “Ghost Dance”), shortened their name to The Cult, which is where this set picks up.
This collection nicely tracks the band’s history, from their early days as psychedelic post-goths (“Spiritwalker”, “She Sells Sanctuary”) to the stripped back hard rock of “Electric” (“Lil’ Devil”, “Love Removal Machine”), the overarrangements of “Sonic Temple” (“Fire Woman”, “Sweet Soul Sister”) and “Ceremony” (“Heart of Soul”) and the inspired sounds of the band’s eponymous final album before breaking up (“Star”, “Coming Down”). Put simply, it’s about everything anyone knows by the band. If you’re not too familiar with the Cult, this is a superb place to start, and if you are, you’ll want it for “The Witch”, “In the Clouds” and “Resurrection Joe”– the former two are among the best of the Cult’s later material. Highly recommended.