ARTIST: CULTDREAMS

TITLE: THINGS THAT HURT

LABEL: BIG SCARY MONSTERS

RATING: 8/10

WORDS: JACK MOBLEY

Since their 2017 effort ‘Seafoam’, sad-low-fi-shoe-gaze-punk Cultdreams, (formerly known as Kamikaze Girls) have grown as musicians under their new banner. The new record from the British duo, ‘Things That Hurt’, is a collection of anger-filled songs that dwells on apathetic tendencies at the surrounding world or the thoughts swirling through lead vocalists, Lucinda Livingstone’s brain. Exploring themes of isolation, PTSD and depression whilst also screaming the issues of xenophobia, misogyny and sexual harassment still plague society; all delivered with passion, conviction and vigour. The sophomore effort features more elements of distortion when the anger needs be exaggerated while the shoe gaze tones provide space for the lyrics to linger in the atmosphere. In the sea of sound, the songwriting is engaging with some ear worm planted throughout the track-listing showing huge promise for the albums to come from the reborn Cultdreams.

The intimate tale that kicks off the album instantly sets the tone and will be familiar for returning fans, as ‘Born An Underdog’ resembles ‘One Young Man’ from ‘Seafoam’ in it’s overall feel. An unpolished production element, Lucinda tunefully croaks “I was stuck on a roof of a garage” and continues the poem accompanied by slow building instrumentation.

“Showing huge promise for the albums to come from the reborn Cultdreams.”

‘Not My Generation’ kick starts the album as Lucinda’s flow bounces from issue to issue while the line; “Everyone ignores me unless I’m on a stage talking because they put me on a pedestal” really hammers home her point with a deeply personal thought. Adamant to separate herself from her ‘generation’ in so many ways while tumbling into a dark space in the process.

The high point on the album comes in the form of ‘We Never Rest’ as Livingstone barks in the verses before the colossal lullaby chorus of “Just don’t worry, keep on going, everything is fine.” A melody that will surely be an uplifting moment live. If Cultdreams capitalise on these 90’s anthem moments in the next release, they will be making everyone’s ‘cult-dreams’ come true.

“Livingstone’s performance is authentic in all aspects…her lyrical content and range of delivery has translated perfectly into the songs.”

Tracks ‘Don’t Let Them Tell You Otherwise’ and ‘Statement’ draw the record to the low points while distortion heavy closers: ‘Repent, Regress’ and ‘Toxins’ are immense in their delivery while continuing to remain as an open books. Livingstone’s performance is authentic in all aspects which can be hard to convey but her lyrical content and range of delivery has translated perfectly into the songs.

Cultdreams’ ‘Things That Hurt’ is a record that is heart-crushing at times; whether it’s because of the honest and down right sad lyrics or the low-fi and muted tone with it’s gazing sonics. Highlighting important and personal issues, Livingstone has genuine in both her delivery and writing in showcasing her very direct ideas. Capturing some anthemic choruses that swirl through the mind in same way the guitars do, capitalising on that in future releases will be crucial in the maintaining the upward trajectory that this band is on.

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