The cult she sells sanctuary howling mix - The Cult - She Sells Sanctuary - YouTube


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If the Cult has to be remembered for one song and one song only, then there's no question which it is -- if Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy whipped up more powerful and explosive numbers later thanks to judicious selection of producers, the sheer energy, drive, and liveliness of "She Sells Sanctuary" remains untouchable. Duffy's liquid, quasi-psychedelic guitar intro over a buzz of flanged feedback suddenly rips into a triumphant, driving lead melody that's jaw-dropping, finding a synthesis between U2, Big Country, and Simple Minds that arguably trumps them all hands down. The addition of a quick acoustic strum as a counterpart doesn't hurt either, while the rhythm section keeps up a relentless drive that's at once solid and notably danceable, something most loud rock acts couldn't manage without remix therapy. All that's needed is for Astbury to top it off with a hell of a performance, and he delivers in spades, his voice strong and commanding, his just-evocative enough imagery of an overwhelming, passionate attraction coming across as celebratory invocation. Right down to his last call of "Sanctuary!" and a slow fadeout on Duffy's original guitar line, it's an early-'80s rock monster that stands the test of time.

As it turned out, The Cult did have what it took to become stars in America. It just happened on the next album, 1987’s Electric , which saw the group working with producer Rick Rubin and stripping down to tight, loud AC/DC-style hard rock. (The album after that, 1989’s Sonic Temple , was an even bigger hit, working the same vein.) Love was huge around the world, but in the States, aside from a small set of fans, it faded into the mishmash of styles then being imported from the .: goth, drone, post-punk, “big music,” and the like.


The Cult She Sells Sanctuary Howling MixThe Cult She Sells Sanctuary Howling MixThe Cult She Sells Sanctuary Howling MixThe Cult She Sells Sanctuary Howling Mix

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