The Cult: Ian Astbury (vocals, percussion); Bill Duffy (guitar); Jamie Stewart (bass); Les Warner (drums).
Engineers: Bruce Buchalter, Andy Wallace.
The Cult: Ian Astbury (vocals, tambourine); Bill Duffy (guitar); Jamie Stewart (bass); Les Warner (drums).
Engineers: Bruce Buchalter, Andy Wallace.
Recorded in New York, New York. Includes liner notes by Pat Gilbert.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Personnel: Ian Astbury (vocals, trombone, tambourine); Billy Duffy (guitar); Jamie Stewart (bass guitar); Les Warner (drums).
Audio Mixer: Andy Wallace.
Liner Note Author: Pat Gilbert.
Recording information: Electric Lady Sound Studios.
Photographers: Peter Anderson ; Rob Brimson; Tony Mottram.
This pairing of the Cult's Rick Rubin-produced Electric with Peace, the Steve Brown-helmed sessions that featured earlier, completely finished versions of most of the same tracks, seems like it should have been released ages ago. Peace (aka "The Manor Sessions") was supposed to be the follow-up to 1985's hit Love (which Brown also produced). The band were unhappy with the sound of unfinished product and hired Rubin, who insisted they re-cut the entire album. The Cult re-recorded seven songs, wrote one more, and re-recorded "King Contrary Man," a leftover from the Love sessions, and the atrocious "Born to Be Wild" cover. Some of the Peace material -- four tracks previously surfaced as B-sides to Electric's singles -- and another five appeared as The Manor Sessions EP; the full album was issued in the six-disc Rare Cult box in 2000, but has been out of circulation since. When comparing these two offerings side by side, it becomes glaringly apparent that the Cult really needed guidance in the studio. They certainly had most of the songs, but they had no editor, and the sonics on Peace make it sound like merely an extension of the previous album, even as the songs the band were writing evolved. It's no wonder they were unhappy with the finished result. Brown's production copied the color and textural palette of Love but used his own idea of the more metallic sound the band wanted by employing enormous, swampy, overdubbed basslines and big compressed drums at the forefront of the mix, yet separated them spatially from Ian Astbury's heavily reverbed vocals. Billy Duffy's guitar -- inarguably as much a signature of the band's sound as Astbury -- was buried under that rhythm, yet allowed to solo endlessly -- and often monotonously. This mars tracks such as "Outlaw" and "Bad Fun," which lumber and plod while making "Love Removal Machine," "Wild Flower," and "Electric Ocean" compelling contrasts to the big, punchy, crisp sound of Electric. Of the songs that didn't make the latter record's cut, one, "Love Trooper," didn't need to -- it's literally a throwaway. The brief "Conquistador" is a decent song that wasn't handled properly; "Groove Co," with its saxophone and female backing chorus, is a good idea that might have worked better had it been re-tracked and remixed for Ceremony, while "Zap City" features the best Duffy lead guitar on either record; it should have been re-recorded and used instead of "Born to Be Wild." For Cult fans, this budget-priced package is a convenient must, for those who've heard and enjoyed Love and Electric, Peace is the enjoyable, if flawed, bridge between the two. ~ Thom Jurek
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