The self-titled follow-up to 1991's anemic Ceremony clearly shows a once great band trying to recapture the excitement of their earlier efforts. Sadly for the Cult, their problems were bigger than the sum of their parts. When it boils down to it, the constant musical tug of war between Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy would result in the band losing its focus and ultimately, its audience. From Love onwards, each Cult release would be greeted with a mix of awe (Electric), commercial triumph (Sonic Temple), and eventually, apathy as the band's fan base continued to be bedazzled and eroded due to the band's ever-changing styles. The Cult is a perfect case in point. If the arena rock of Sonic Temple proved to be Duffy's brainchild, the subsequent faux pas of Ceremony (Astbury's idea) only makes The Cult that much more confusing and frustrating. With a newfound sense of sobriety and spirituality, Astbury set out to make a record that would combine the guitar riffing of its two predecessors along with the singer's newfound love for electronica. Re-hiring producer/songwriter Bob Rock proved to be a definite step in the right direction. Whereas, songs like "Real Grrrl," the scorching "Be Free," and "Star" evoke the Cult of yore (with a more modern-day treated sound, others like the Doors pastiche of "Joy" and the oh-where-have-our-heroes-gone cheese of "Sacred Life are a mess. If anything positive came out of these sessions, it's nice to hear Astbury's voice sounding lean and mean at the forefront of Bob Rock's mix. the Cult get an A for effort/enthusiasm and a B- for execution on this one. For Cult diehards and curiosity seekers only.
AllMusic Review by John Franck