an edgy alt-rock return

The Cult (Sire/Reprise)

The Cult

By Kory Wilcoxson

If your only knowledge of the Cult comes for the reference to them in Too Much Joy's "Long Haired Guys from England," then you have a lot to discover. Besides, lead singer Ian Astbury got the flowing locks cut.

N0thing's been cut from the Cult's energetic sound and on this eponymous album they are as tight and focused as ever and should find some success.

At their best the Cult sound a little like U2, especially on "Coming Down. " But the difference comes in the delivery: Where Bono finesses the lyrics, Astbury is pure power, belting the words out in an intoxicating drawl.

His vocals are the main reason the Cult sounds so good. On "Black Sun, " Astbury is like a volcano, starting slow, bubbling ominously, then exploding in a furious wail that completely draws in the listener.

Of course, it doesn't hurt having the superb guitar work of Billy Duffy or the precise percussion of Scott Garrett. They, along with bassist Craig Adams, form an edgy rock group that should find a warm embrace from alternative fans.