July 11, 2012

Song Review: Cult of Youth's "Man and Man's Ruin"

The latest breed of dark-obsessed proto-punk bands such as Iceage and The Men have all made names for themselves brandishing bloody chaos at their hands, but their peers in BUZZSound alumni Cult of Youth offset the shackled guitars and venomous noise by using restraint and attention without necessarily abandoning the lo-fi DIY aesthetic that defines the glum scene. On September 4th, the Brooklyn project spearheaded by Sean Ragon will release Love Will Prevail on Sacred Bones, the follow up to last year's excellent self-titled breakthrough. This effort was recorded and self-produced in Ragon's newly built-from-scratch Heaven Street studio, which -- unlike last year's big-sounding Chris Coady-produced effort -- allowed the Cult of Youth frontman to nitpick and control the details all on his own. Our first evidence of this practice is its first single, "Man and Man's Ruin," a very focused, meditative listen at that. Here, Ragon and company sit in an open space while extending an invitation for your undivided attention so that the brooding, baritoned-voiced songwriter can wax poetic about the nature of humanity. The neo-folk acoustics and percussion which usher in the track, however, soon find themselves spinning within a circle of chanting females and entrancing cherubs, heralding a message like the climactic point of some sort of pagan ritual. The aura Cult of Youth emit on "Man and Man's Ruin" is rather spontaneous, yet intensely natural, making for a thought-provoking contrast to the intentional disarray taking place elsewhere on their shadowy side of the music spectrum.

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