Picks and Pans Review: Fire of Unknown Origin
After 10 albums this Long Island quintet continues to be to pop music what the Ouija board is to parlor games. It offers all the trappings of the occult with none of the perverse overtones. This album is rife with netherworldly lyrics and ominous titles such as Veteran of the Psychic Wars. The title cut, with necromantic words by Patti Smith (BOC guitarist Allen Lanier's ex-girlfriend), is the group's most commercially gruesome song since its 1976 hit (Don't Fear) The Reaper. The tune begins: "Death comes sweeping through the hallway like a lady's dress/Death comes driving down the highway in its Sunday best." The Cult proves melody and hard rock are not mutually exclusive, even with the volume on "maximum." Still, the fainthearted or tender-eared should be forewarned. The highlight of this outing, in fact, is a diabolically hilarious song called Joan Crawford, in which the late actress seeks revenge on daughter Christina for Mommie Dearest. It's, well, a scream.