Cults, aka multi-instrumentalist/singer Madeline Follin and multi-instrumentalist Brian Oblivion, announce their fourth studio album Host out September 18 via Sinderlyn / Remote Control. Along with the announcement, the duo share their second single ‘Trials‘ which follows the pulsating single ‘Spit You Out’ that Stereogum describes as “hard-hitting, effervescent” and Consequence of Sound compares to a “My Bloody Valentine sample.”
Cults on ‘Trials‘: “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.”
Director Jeff Strikers on ‘Trials‘: “Cults asked me back in April if I had any ideas for a music video we could make while quarantined across the country. Via Zoom, we shot Madeline’s performance against a green tablecloth from a party store. I started experimenting with an old optical illusion called “Pepper’s Ghost”, projecting Madeline’s image onto a sheet of glass to create a ghostly, hologram effect. They use this technique on the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. It was pretty magical and the whole process was constant discovery and surprise. An ideal creative experience.”
Cults were deep into the process of recording Host when Follin let a secret slip. “In the past, I’d never brought my own music to the table because I was just too shy,” says Follin. “When Shane and I heard what Madeline had written, we couldn’t believe it,” says Oblivion. “The music just floored us.” What followed was a radical reimagining, both of the band’s sound and its dynamic, and the result is Cults’ utterly mesmerising new album. Host was co-produced by Cults and Shane Stoneback, mixed by John Congleton, mastered by Heba Kadry, and features Loren Shane Humphrey, (Last Shadow Puppets, Florence and the Machine, Guards) on drums. Written more collaboratively than ever before and recorded primarily with live instruments for the first time, the collection marks the start of a bold new chapter for the band, one fueled by an ever-deepening trust and a boundless appetite for growth and experimentation. The songs here are deceptively charming, with lush, airy arrangements that belie their dark, weighty lyrics, and the production is rich and multifaceted to match, blending retro and futuristic palettes into a spellbinding swirl of high-def indie rock and lo-fi bedroom pop. As its title suggests, Host is an exploration of the sinister dynamics at play in a parasitic relationship, but rather than dwell in the discomfort, the record charts a cathartic journey towards freedom and self-reliance, reveling in the power that comes from standing your ground and declaring independence in the face of exploitation and manipulation.
Formed while Follin and Oblivion were still just students in college, Cults released ‘Go Outside.’ Both a commercial and critical smash, the track would go on to rack up more than 40 million streams on Spotify, land in soundtracks everywhere from Broad City to Gossip Girl, and help the band score a major label deal for their self – titled debut, released the following year on Columbia Records. Pitchfork called the album “catchy and sweet,” cutting “1960’s girl – pop…with synths, guitars, and softly integrated samples,” while the New Yorker lauded the band’s “agonizingly catchy vintage – pop.” The duo followed it up with the similarly celebrated Static in 2013, and they returned in peak form four years later with Offering, that Billboard described as a “luxury…(head)banger,” and AV Club praised their music “a magic carpet ride over hand-clap-heavy canyons of California pop.”