Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Cult With No Name - Careful What You Wish For

A few listens in to this second offering from London duo Erik Stein and Jon Boux, a.k.a. Cult With No Name, I’m still struggling to find anything interesting about the album to tell you.

It’s mostly a male voice singing and a piano playing. The two parts are by two different blokes, with Stein singing (sometimes sounding like Robbie Williams, and on the poppier moments more like the Pet Shop Boys) and Boux prodding away listlessly at the piano, with some moodily atmospheric swirly stuff going on in the background on some of the tracks and, even more rarely, some electronica stabbings that sound like the basic settings on a Casio keyboard for toddlers. And not in a good way.

There’s nothing to lift it beyond the mundane. Stein’s lyrics are mostly trite platitudes, the melodies samey, and the swirls of sound uninteresting. It’s not awful, it’s just dull. It is possible to tap your foot along, even to concentrate on it for a few seconds at a time before boredom inevitably sets in, but it’s too amateurish to be taken seriously, and not pleasant enough to be simply background music.

Cult With No Name have bedroom project stamped all over them. Two friends with big ideas, but without the talent to realise them. Careful What You Wish For is full of half-baked premises, pieces of sound that with the right backing might work, but that fall flat in this setting.

A smattering of violin in ‘Something Better Than I Know’ and a bit of guitar in ‘She B.C.’ can’t lift the monotony in the middle of the album, and by the horrible cover of the Stranglers’ ‘Golden Brown’, any smidgen of interest has leaked away.

It’s not possible to pick highlights or even lowlights from this effort, as none of the tracks are distinguishable from each other. It’s just a big slushy mish-mash of unformed sound, and it’s really not at all worth an hour of your life. Expect something by the Cult With No Name to adorn a car advert sometime soon. It’s that kind of banality.

This review was written for Muso's Guide.

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