Mojo (Publisher) - Ranked #15 in Mojo's 'The 50 Best Albums Of 2016' -- "[I]t's remarkable that their flamboyance could still be channelled with such soulful conviction."
Hidden City, the Cult's tenth studio album -- and fifth with producer Bob Rock -- is the final installment in the "spiritual" trilogy that began with 2007's Born into This and continued on 2012's Choice of Weapon. Musically, this set touches on almost every period in the band's history. First single "Dark Energy" is an excellent choice for an opener. Billy Duffy's signature boogie-matic post-Electric riffing struts out in front of drummer John Tempesta's hard-swinging snare and thumping tom-tom vamp. Ian Astbury's baritone remains a tremendous thundering force, authoritatively delivering a lyric that warns of coming karmic consequences for exploitative and destructive behavior. Rock's busy, over the top production swirls around it all. "G O A T" is stronger, buoyed by an unapologetic swagger that approaches "Wildflower" territory. "Hinterland" combines the aesthetic textures found on Sonic Temple and Ceremony. The squalling guitar atmospherics and thrumming, in-the-red bassline counter the modal melody. "Deeply Ordered Chaos" manages to look back to both Dreamtime and Love simultaneously. But oddly, Astbury deliberately invokes post- Scary Monsters-era David Bowie in the bridge, even aping his phrasing and vocal timbre. The well-placed synth strings underscore that notion. Bowie is also the referent in the effective midtempo, multi-textural smear of "Lillies." "In Blood" harks back to Dreamtime, while the gothic glam of "Dance the Night" is a nice campy touch that points in a direction the Cult should explore further. ~ Thom Jurek