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6 Oct 2010

Review: Filthy Plumage In An Open Sea! (Cult of Youth)

Cult of Youth
Filthy Plumage In An Open Sea!
Avant Records, 2010

Obliquely chronicling one man’s overcoming of  darkness, Cult of Youth’s new 20 minute long vinyl outing is a concise and powerful statement of kickass dark-folk intent.

The acoustic guitars hit like uppercuts, the bass growls and roars, the percussion pummels and sways. There’s a powerful spirit of resolve binding these songs together, a firmed up jaw line, a militant aspiration to positive overcoming: “we submit to our fears for no man!”

Yet there’s also a swagger and a sway, with almost Latin feels flowing through the folk-punk aggression. At times the arrangements – which include piano, horns, and some pretty wild electric guitar – get pretty complex, opening up fields of voices, though always with a decisive sense of direction. This is the hard core end of folk, yet at the same time it grooves: body music par excellence.

Of course rising over the instrumentation are some very unique vocals. Masculine and raw, often veering south of in tune yet never grating, there’s a distilled honesty and vulnerability to the singer’s performance: this sort of deep intensity simply cannot be faked. The choruses of voices that appear at times evoke an almost tribal atmosphere.

This is definitely folk music, but being flecked as it is with a gritty urban atmosphere I would plot it almost at the punk (I mean the real, original punk) end of the musical spectrum. As such it might not appeal to the listener looking for a hit of yesteryear nostalgia, but it sure will catch the attention for anyone with an ear for original, raw, powerful, and artfully composed music.

Cult of Youth are a band to watch: there’s an unmatched hunger and passion in every note of Filthy Plumage In An Open Sea!

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