The Austin Chronicle

ACL Live Shots

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, September 23, 2011, Music


Zilker Park, Sept. 16

Cults have basked in Internet buzz from its single "Go Outside" since last summer, so the question with this year's eponymous debut LP was whether the New York band could rise above. Last fall at Fun Fun Fun Fest, the last-minute lineup addition was somewhat ramshackle and not ready for prime time. Cults' ACL performance proved otherwise. Most impressive was the aggressive evolution of frontwoman Madeline Follin's vocals, eschewing the cutesy tinkle for more powerful wails on opener "Abducted" and the swaying, torched flame of "You Know What I Mean." The lighter tilt of "Most Wanted" and dueling male/female exchange of "Bumper" both revealed the Cyndi Lauper tinge of Follin's voice that balances the playful and fierce, though "Walk at Night" careened a bit too far out of range. The band supplemented with more power as well, shifting the pop haze into a noisier barrage with the outro wash of closer "Oh My God."

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