Cults

Offering

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When Cults returned from the four-year hiatus that followed Static, Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion took a new approach to their music. They took inspiration from Pink Floyd's atmospheres and the chugging new wave of Gary Numan and the Motels, and they collaborated more closely on their songs, jamming them out in the same room with Follin playing drums and keyboards as well as singing. As a result, Offering introduces a livelier, more eclectic Cults. The title track reflects new beginnings in its big, buzzy, Chvrches-like synths and its leap-of-faith lyrics; when Follin sings "Such a terrifying jump/But I can make you an offering," it's the perfect start to an album full of changes. Though traces of their girl group homages remain on the sweetly spooky "With My Eyes Closed," Oblivion and Follin spend more time with unexpected sounds like the '80s synth brass that peppers "Recovery." They incorporate their newfound influences seamlessly on "Natural State" and "Nothing Is Written," where bouncy keyboards descended from '60s pop and '80s new wave combine with sweeping passages that echo Pink Floyd's scope, if not their exact sound. It all comes together brilliantly on Offering's final third, which is so impressive that the rest of the album almost sounds like a warm-up: the sweeping ballad "Talk in Circles," which raises the emotional stakes with each synth that joins the mix, is one of Cults' most ambitious songs yet. The spacy new wave pop of "Clear from Far Away" and the huge, heartbroken "Gilded Lily" follow suit, presenting the duo's vintage melodies with a scope and impact that feel decidedly new. Ultimately, Offering lives up to its name -- Cults give more of themselves on these songs than ever before, and opening themselves to more possibilities pays off with some of their most exciting music.

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