Ahead of releasing their fourth album Host later this month, we caught up with New York-based duo Cults to talk five tracks that influenced the upcoming album. 

Since Cults first made their mark back in 2010 with their particular shimmering, cinematic and retro-tinged electronica the pair, comprised of Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin, have continued to evolve their sound with nuance and intricacy.

With their new material, the duo wrote the songs more collaboratively than before – manifesting in a certain seamless melodic synergy. ‘Trials’, the latest single taken from Host, sways and soars with atmospheric, impactful strings, swirling electronica and hazy vocals capturing a sound that is at once imbued with an air of nostalgia as well as offering a certain celestial, timeless impression. Speaking on the track, they detail ““Trials” focuses on the power that addictions and harmful ideologies have to transform. The chorus walks a tightrope between a metaphor for gaslighting and a despairing worry about the person you still hold out hope for.”

Get to know Cults In Five…

Jane B – Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg

This is a great intro to the kind of 60’s era French music we spent a good amount of our time exploring before making this album. Jane Birkin is such an engaging singer. We love her intimate and straight forward singing style. This album helped us realize those two traits are often very complementary.

No Aloha – The Breeders

We’ve often joked that our albums have been crawling up the decades. If you start with our first album in the early ’60s, then I guess this would be our 90’s album! Unfortunately it’s not that simple, but we definitely felt more free to explore the music we listened to as teenagers, and The Breeders were huge for both of us. The way Kim Deal creates impressionistic scenes with her lyrics, and the general tongue in cheek nature of this song specifically is so damn cool.

Overcome – Tricky

Looking back, some of this record feels like a strange experiment where we tried to make trip-hop in a major key or something. Maybe a lot of our songs are like that? We love this style of production very much.

One Day (At A Time) – John Lennon 

When we started on this record the first thing we did was turn the default tempo wwaaayyyy down. We referenced Lennon’s solo albums a lot as having great momentum at slow speeds. This could have been a whole bunch of other Lennon songs but this one is nice.

Joe Meek – I Hear a New World

Percussion, strings, horns, harps and all kinds of other crazy instruments we hadn’t really explored before made their way onto this album. Recording these excellent musicians was probably the most fun part of the process. Joe Meek’s music always feels like he’s grabbing any sound he can have around at the moment, and then warping it into something new. We don’t have an orchestra waiting in our studio but we tried very hard to capture this spirit!

‘Host’ is out September 18th via Sinderlyn. Pre-order here.

Photo credit: Maxwell Kamins