Picks and Pans Review: Electric

updated 06/15/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/15/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The Cult

Five years ago they called themselves Southern Death Cult, then Death Cult and, of late, simply the Cult. What this British band has lost in verbiage, it has gained in musical style. This is one housewrecker of an album, crossbreeding AC/DC with Zeppelin and mid-period Stones. The songs are like the philosopher Thomas Hobbes's description of life itself: nasty, brutish and short. Besides such gnarly Cult originals as Love Removal Machine and Lil' Devil, Electric also contains in Born To Be Wild, the best cover of a Steppenwolf song ever committed to vinyl. The album is yet another power play by producer Rick Rubin, the man who unleashed Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys on an unsuspecting world. Rubin is a nice boy from Long Island, but put him in a recording studio and he becomes dangerous. Cult's founder and lead singer Ian Astbury comes right out of the Billy Idol vocal-cords-be-damned school of singing. If guitarist Billy Duffy could play even a halfway decent solo, this would be classic hard rock. But give Duffy credit. It's his strident chord structures that make Electric what it is: rock 'n' roll with a deliciously malicious intent. (Sire)

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