March 5, 2011

CULT OF YOUTH - "Cult of Youth" LP/CD (Sacred Bones)

   Cult of Youth return with a fantastic new full length, complete with a new lineup and a new home at Sacred Bones Records.Originally a solo project of the talented Sean Ragon, a New Yorker with a big heart for early industrial and folk pioneers.Functioning as a one man band, he released a sturdy seven inch, followed by a painfully overlooked full length, as well as last year's awesome "Filthy Plumage In An Open Sea!" twelve inch EP.After the release of Filthy Plumage, Ragon enlisted three new members to his pagan folk army, a bass player, violinist, and a drummer.This new lineup brought a much fuller, fleshed out sound to the existing set list, and it wasn't long before the group started writing music together as a band.The result of this new formation and collective style of songwriting is a vast and powerful eleven song full length, overflowing with heathen folk ballads, driving battle hymns, and darkened punk aesthetic.Ragon valiantly leads his newly formed battalion of strings and galloping percussion into battle, armed with his steady-handed acoustic strumming and his deep, commanding voice.His ability to write a great song, from front to back, radiates on this album.Each song possesses a rhythmic flow that sounds so natural and unforced, that it's hard to believe the band has only been playing together for a little over a year or so.
  Cult of Youth are likely a product of their influences, yet they are completely drenched in their own creative juices, without sounding pretentious or contrived, cleverly pulling from the aesthetics of classic Neo-Folk, Gothic and Industrial acts like Death in June, Skinny Puppy, Throbbing Gristle, and Einsturzende Neubauten.Glenn Maryanski's robotic drumming holds things together tightly, filling out Ragon's bare-boned strumming, and adding new depth to his craft.The sturdy sound of the electric bass follows his riffs closely, occasionally crawling off on it's own runs, and the soaring beauty provided by the gentle violin finds it's place among the rhythmic bliss quite easily, and plays on like another voice, creating beautiful harmonies with Ragon.There are quite a few moments of undeniable beauty throughout these songs, considering the outright seriousness of their dark content.This group is indeed worthy of your immediate attention, and have given us a brave new world to discover.Incredible.

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