Billy Duffy has confirmed that he recorded his parts for The Cult's forthcoming album back in the studio where the band tracked their 1984 debut Dreamtime, and the new songs draw some inspiration from that album and it's breakthrough follow-up, Love.
Although the guitarist admits it's too soon to be objective about the album – it's unlikely to surface until the end of 2022 – he did give some insight into what fans can expect. “I would say it’s a rock album because all our albums are rock albums, but I would call it a bluesy-free zone," he told the Yorkshire Post. "We consciously kept out some of the stuff that I might write that’s a bit more in the blues rock ’n’ roll genre. We just decided as a team. I did that stuff elsewhere (in Coloursound) with Mike (Peters) from The Alarm.
That means any semblance of the about-turn The Cult made with their sound on the Rick Rubin-helmed 1987 album Electric and instead digging further back to some degree.
“I hate the expression ‘it’s like your early albums’", adds Duffy, "but with this one we wanted to keep things a bit more in that vein, more in the Love/Dreamtime palate, and maybe like the album from ’94 that the fans liked, our post-grunge apocalypse record that was just called The Cult.
"But it’s also more than that because it is quite epic in its scale," he continues, "it’s quite a big-sounding record, it’s not small and twee by any means because Tom Dalgety [producer] makes big-sounding records. It’s a bit thematic, a bit cinematic in places, but there’s not a lot of that Electric era Cult, typical AC/DC stuff.
That combination with Dalgety, who produced Royal Blood's debut and went on to work with Ghost and Pixies, could make for a potent sonic brew. But the forthcoming album was also recorded in unusual circumstances. While Duffy and the rest of the lineup recorded at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Monmouth where The Cult tracked Dreamtime in the '80s, frontman Ian Astbury was forced to track his vocals in the US.
“Because of the pandemic it was sort of done long distance," Duffy reveals. "For example, Ian never set foot in Rockfield. I was there with [Tom] Dalgety and the band, but Ian was in America and things were done remotely which was a shame but it just couldn’t be done any other way. Now it’s the classic example for a lot of bands where you’ve made an album now you learn how to play it. It’s very different to what it was in the '80s.”