“Trials” Cults

Cults, are comprised of Madeline Follin and multi-instrumentalist Brian Oblivion. They recently announced their new album Host will drop on September 18, via Sinderlyn (Homeshake). Along with the announcement, the duo share their second single “Trials” that focuses on the power that addictions and harmful ideologies have to transform. The chorus walks a tightrope between a metaphor for gaslighting and a despairing concern about the person you still hold out hope for. This follows the pulsating single “Spit You Out” that Stereogum describes as “hard-hitting, effervescent” and Consequence of Sound compares to a “ My Bloody Valentine sample.”

“Trials:” director Jeff Strikers on the video

Cults asked me back in April if I had any ideas for a music video we could make while quarantined across the country. Via Zoom, we shot Madeline’s performance against a green tablecloth from a party store. I started experimenting with an old optical illusion called “Pepper’s Ghost”, projecting Madeline’s image onto a sheet of glass to create a ghostly, hologram effect. They use this technique on the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. It was pretty magical and the whole process was constant discovery and surprise. An ideal creative experience.

Cults were deep into the process of recording Host when Follin let a secret slip. “In the past, I’d never brought my own music to the table because I was just too shy,” says Follin. “When Shane and I heard what Madeline had written, we couldn’t believe it,” says Oblivion. “The music just floored us.” What followed was a radical reimagining, both of the band’s sound and its dynamic, and the result is Cults’ utterly mesmerizing new album. Host was co-produced by Cults and Shane Stoneback, mixed by John Congleton, mastered by Heba Kadry, and features Loren Shane Humphrey, (Last Shadow Puppets, Florence and the Machine, Guards) on drums.

Formed while Follin and Oblivion were still just students in college, Cults released “Go Outside.” Both a commercial and critical smash, the track would go on to rack up more than 40 million streams on Spotify, land in soundtracks everywhere from Broad City to Gossip Girl, and help the band score a major label deal for their self – titled debut, released the following year on Columbia Records.