It's been six years, but UK rock darlings The Cult are back with the follow-up to 2016's Hidden City in the form of Under the Midnight Sun, a new 8-song, barely 35-minute album that sees the band going back to some of the more textured, dreamy sounds of the earlier part of their career, moving away slightly from some of the more dark, riff laden material that we've seen the band dip into more recently. "Mirror" and "A Cut Inside" sees a more restrained Ian Astbury and certainly shows Billy Duffy blending in lots of colors and textures rather than pure rock guitar riffs, though the guitarist does add some muscle to the closing moments of the latter. "Vendetta X" will take you back to Dreamtime and Love with those alluring rhythms and layers of guitars, while "Give Me Mercy" blends moments of Ceremony and a dash of Sonic Temple, the guitar licks intoxicating and Astbury's vocal on the chorus a thing of beauty. The sweeping keys from Bigelf's Damon Fox add a nice touch to the upbeat "Outer Heaven", and the eerie build of "Knife Through Butterfly Heart" is one of Under the Midnight Sun's highlights, complete with a terrific Duffy guitar solo and some massive riffs to close out the song. "Impermanence" features a strong Astbury vocal and lots of atmospherics, and the closing title is again loaded with keyboards and seems to need some guitar thunder, though there is a nice solo near the end.
I'm kind of left feeling 'well, what else is there?' with this latest from The Cult. While there aren't necessarily any bad songs, I also don't feel there is anything truly outstanding either, just a solid collection of new tracks that will likely please most fans, but won't bring any new ones to the table.
2 A Cut Inside
3 Vendetta X
4 Give Me Mercy
5 Outer Heaven
6 Knife Through Butterfly Heart
8 Under the Midnight Sun