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Music

‘Electric Peace’ reveals how Rick Rubin altered the rock trajectory of the Cult

Album review: The Cult’s ‘Electric Piece’

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The band scrapped the whole thing, calling in Rick Rubin to remix “Love Removal Machine.” Rubin declined the offer and instead insisted they re-record the whole song. The band was thrilled with the results and ultimately decided to have Rubin re-record the entire album. The result was Electric, an album that also completely shed the band’s alt/goth/post-punk legacy, this time in favor of pure AC/DC worship. It was hugely successful; Cult fans could squint their ears and pretend they were listening to their favorite band, while flocks of hard-rock heshers could pretend they were smarter than they really were.

Electric established the Cult’s reputation as supremely unsophisticated rockers. (Its folllow-up, Sonic Temple, did little to counter that reputation, although nearly every album that came later was much better.) But one wonders what the band’s legacy would be today had they released Peace as originally planned. Now that the album is finally available – as part of a two-disc Electric Peace set that combines it with Electric – listeners can decide for themselves. In Peace, you'll hear a confident and smart bunch of rockers with a unique sound that is both very much of-the-moment as well as forward-looking. But you’ll also hear a band evolving slowly rather than exploding their former selves in search of complete redefinition. The former may have created better art, but the latter was much braver.

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