Spirit Light Speed
Back On Earth - Reminds me of Sympathy For The Devil. Great opening number,
and it really got into my head.
Hi Time Amplifier - I've had this one for a while, from the sampler. This is
supposed to be the first single from the album. Pretty good song, lots of effects,
but I would have chosen a different song as the first single. I can see why this
one was chosen first, though, because it's more rocking then the others I would have
Devil's Mouth - Neat song. Lots of weird stuff going on in it. This whole
album has a lot of experiemental sounds, and this song really focuses on it.
Tonight - One of my favorites. Slower song, but possibly worthy of being
a single. This one really stayed in my head.
Metaphysical Pistol - Reminds me of Midnite Exspress from his Holy Barbarian days.
This song does have vocals, and they are dark. "His life is just a trip from the
maternity ward to the crematorium". This is one of the songs that makes me think
Ian is an unbelievable writer. This song touches emotions, but it's sad.
The Witch - A nice reworking of this classic. You all know what it's like,
this version is just a bit different.
It's Over - Another song from the sampler, I've had some time to think about
this one, too. This is a rocker, the more I listen to it, the more I like it.
El Cid - I love this song! This is another example of just how gifted Ian
is as a songwriter. If Ian was to do this song accoustically, it could be one of
the most beautiful songs you've ever heard. My only complaint about this song is
that there is just a little too much sampling in it for me. This is my first choice as
a song that could have a remix with it. I thought if it was done in the same vein
as Garbage's Classic mix of Milk, it could be gorgeous. This is one of the most
touching songs on the disc, and don't get me wrong, despite my critism of it, I
Tyger - Another song along the same vein as Devil's Mouth. Lots of wierd stuff
going on in this song, too. This is a good song.
Shambala - This is the insturmental on the album. When I heard there was
going to be an insturmental, I was a little reserved about it. After listening to the
song, I really enjoyed it. Again a lot of sampling and stuff going on in it.
Overall, I really enjoyed this album. One of my favorite things about Ian's songwriting
abilities is his ability to touch emotion. This whole album does it, and to me
that is a sign of a good songwriter. If Ian was ever to give up his rock and rolling,
I would hope he would continue to write poetry, because man, he can touch emotions
in ways I never knew. I am a fan of music that means something to me, that was my
first attraction to The Cult, and this disk does not dissapoint.
Jon Taylor - firstname.lastname@example.org
I think I have ESP. Here I was all set to start off by telling you that the title of
former Cult frontman, Ian Astbury's, new solo album sounds vaguely like that of Primal
Scream's track, "Shoot Speed Kill Light" from the album of the year, XTRMNTR. And what
do the two parties in question go and do? Overnight, they turn into a publicized mutual
admiration club. Pish. Apparently, according to the NME, the Primals' LA show at the
House of Blues was attended by Astbury, among other important music biz types. And while
the legendary Simon Jones of the Sex Pistols would later join the band on stage, Bobby
Gillespie (himself,the embodiment of guerilla, animal sex with maracas and a permanent
head rush...*swoon*) took the opportunity to dedicate "Higher Than the Sun" to Astbury
whom he termed "a real rock star." It's not too unusual to have one raver-cum-guerilla
rocker acknowledge a fellow musician who himself makes quite a turnabout on his latest
solo release; from hard rocking, proto-goth caprice in the form of The Cult to the
Jekyll-esque industrial-meets-blues sound of Astbury's 2000 Beggars Banquet release.
And the similarities between the two keep on running through the fact that both have
a certain fascination with revolution. While Primal Scream's latest album makes the
obsession more than obvious with the profusion of army gear and quasi-political
conscience, Astbury opts for a more aesthetic plunge into the armchair terrorism. The
album's cover features not only a Primal-esque stencil font but also a portrait of the
artist as a not-so-young man that resembles the notorious interpretation of Che Guevara
that can be found on many a poster. On top of that, one of the album's prettiest tracks
has a split title of "El Che/Wild Like a Horse." Things that make you go hmmm. Or mmm,
rather. "It's Over" stomps through your head like an elephant being ridden by a cowboy,
with the flexibility of Astbury's voice being the most uncompromising delicacy. He is at
once a mythical king along the lines of Brendan Perry, a gritty blues rocker, and Peter
Murphy locked in solitary confinement with a number of classic rock records. Ian Astbury
is everything but over.
Tania Biswas - email@example.com
Since Ian Astbury bolted from the Cult tour in 1995, he's come up with music that's
bound to leave some fans scratching their heads.
In stores Tuesday, his new solo album is a mix of electronica and rock - et tu, Ian?
While it sometimes sounds like Cult outtakes grafted onto dance grooves, with plenty
of bells and whistles scrambling for attention, there are worthy moments. The Witch,
with its fast fuzz guitars in a funky drive, is the strongest of the lot, while the
spooky, spoken-word-laced Metaphysical Pistol is the most experimental. Astbury's
distinctive operatic vocals hold it all together - barely.
This sounds like a work in progress, a template for hopefully better things to come -
now that neither rock nor the Cult turn out be dead after all.
Mike Ross - Edmonton Sun
Even amongst some of the fashion and musical disasters that emerged from the Leeds Goth
scene of the mid-80s, the Cult were the most laughable and yet bafflingly successful. To
this day, no-one knows why, but America lapped up the sight of a stumpy Yorkshireman in
a buffalo skin head dress, caterwauling like the bastard offspring of Glenn Danzig and
Shirley Bassey, trying to pass himself off as a shaman, while a Whitesnake covers band
mauled some chords in the back ground. Now rather than believing that he's Big Chief
Running Nose, former Cult vocalist Ian Astbury started to labor under the misapprehension
that he's Ian Brown: a half-witted has-been who, now wrenched away from the talented ones
in his band, has started to peddle wretched, over produced, shuffling bluesy techno-tinged
nonsense. Even the sleeve, a quasi-portrait in muted browns, passes itself off as something
that fell out of the inner sleeve of King Monkey's Adventures In Bozo Land. Imagine Alabama
3 without the irony or a Primal Scream at whom you could cheerfully lob rocks. OK, more
cheerfully than usual.
The result is the most unconvincing slab of faux-Americana since Blur went gospel, or
possibly even since U2 discovered their extremely well-disguised Delta Blues roots.
Plodding, monosyllabic, self-important and meaningless (wouldn't you shoot anyone that
inflicted the couplet "a metaphysical pistol with a gut full of hate/ a metaphysical
pistol with a heart full of light" for crimes against pretension?). Not that we should
be surprised: Astbury's career has been built around missing the boat and the point. The
only disappointment is that, somehow, he's managed to con the king of stoner rock,
ex-Masters Of Reality guitarist Chris Goss, into collaborating on this leaden atrocity.
Yet rather than concentrating on the sly thrumming blues that are his trademark, there's
some heinously forced sub-world music tosh, like the bad bhangra-lite of Devil's Mouth.
Yet even that is overshadowed by the unspeakably atuneful, atonal re-hashing.... make
that a plain hash of Cult fan favorite The Witch. The new Sit Return version to be found
here would, in a reasoned world, be an abandoned demo, so hopelessly misguided that
incineration or incarceration are the only reasonable fates. By adding producer/DJ
Witchman to the mix, Astbury seems to be hoping for a unique melding of sensibilities
and styles. What he gets is three people seemingly working on completely different songs
and the most glaring example yet of the technical gap between his own "Learn Guitar In
Six Easy Lessons" plunk-plunk strumming and Goss' own mastery. Unfortunately, Goss'
brilliance is not matched this time around by his inspiration, and the result is fruitless,
formless meanderings, rather than the thunderous, sinewy epics for which he used to be
revered. As for Astbury's voice, the pub singer tendencies that were rarely suppressed
are given full note-throttling liberty, making one extremely glad that Billy Idol had
the good grace to just quit.
Possibly Astbury was hoping to conjure up the mystical spirit of Jim Morrison's moodier
mumblings. But rather than An American Prayer, it's rather reminiscent of the scene in
Wayne's World 2 when the Native American is wandering around with his arse out. You can't
help staring, but it's for all the wrong reasons.
Spirit\Light\Speed by Ian Astbury is out on Beggars Banquet, as is his first solo outing
as lead of The Holy Barbarians.
In 1994, The Cult's eponymous last album showed that Billy Duffy and Ian Astbury were
beginning to distance themselves from the stadium-friendly rockism into which they'd
lapsed by the early '90s. Six years later, after a stint with the Holy Barbarians,
Astbury has released his first solo effort, Spirit\Light\Speed, which attests to an even
more marked musical evolution.
Taking a cue from one of his admittedly favorite bands, Primal Scream, on Spirit Astbury
carries off a convincing hybridization of the textures of electronica and rock. The
result is an engaging sonic venture that owes as much to the influence of the techno
generation as it does to standard Astbury coordinates such as Led Zeppelin.
For the most part, Spirit exorcises any Duffy-esque ax antics and drops the anthemic
pretensions and bombast of Sonic Temple and Ceremony-period Cult in favor of more
subtle, integrated guitar work and an attention to beats and samples. Above all, Astbury
shows that not only has he kept up with some of the more significant developments in
certain variants of popular music over the last decade but, more importantly, he's able
to craft his own distinctive and relevant contribution that doesn't sound out of place
alongside many of today's younger acts.
Despite its contemporary feel, an unlikely influence on Spirit/Light/Speed is Jesus Christ
Superstar. Astbury reports being inspired both by the emotive resonance of some of the
songs from the rock opera and by its treatment of the notion of martyrdom, one of his own
long-held lyrical preoccupations. It's precisely that subject matter that Astbury sets out
re-explore on Spirit, albeit recontextualized amid what he terms "electronic landscapes."
The cover art itself announces a continued thematic concern with the martyr figure,
featuring an image that appears to blend the face of Astbury himself and the familiar
depiction of the Argentinian freedom fighter Che Guevara -- these days, unfortunately, a
largely dehistoricized pop culture fashion accessory.
Che even gets his own song ("El Che/Wild Like a Horse") and, while it's one of the more
memorable and melodic tracks on the album, it exemplifies a problem that has
intermittently undermined Astbury's songwriting over the years: namely, his propensity
for awkward lyrics of the high school poetry club variety. Of course, rock lyrics aren't
literature and shouldn't be judged by the standards reserved for literary criticism or
analysis, but when you do something like rhyming "French symbolist poetry" with "the
BBC" -- as Astbury did on the last Cult album -- you've got to expect a few winces.
Although there are no cringers of that magnitude on this album, in certain places the
lyrical content does blemish this otherwise respectable outing. While Astbury's
"electronic landscapes" are fresh and compelling, with their driving beats and layers
of sound, and while his voice is as effortlessly commanding and evocative as ever, on
occasion you can hear the lyrics just a little too clearly.
"Metaphysical Pistol" and "Devil's Mouth" are two instances of solid tracks that are
marred by their words. The latter foregrounds the diametrically opposed poles of Astbury's
abilities: an unparalleled gift for soaring -- wordless -- vocal flourishes and a talent
for unfortunate rhymes (check out the chorus). "Metaphysical Pistol" features some equally
dodgy writing and Astbury compounds the problem by enlisting a sampled Alan Watts, spouting
popular psychology/philosophy that now sounds only one rung above John Gray or The
Celestine Prophecy. By the end of the track, however, Astbury introduces some heavy beats
into the initially low-key affair, managing to whip it up and salvage things somewhat.
Minor grumblings aside, "Back On Earth" and the techno-meets-"Trampled Underfoot" of
"High Time Amplifier" are unqualified successes. On these driving, forceful tracks all
the components are well-integrated and arranged; and key among those elements is Astbury's
voice, serving not so much as a vehicle for lyrics but as the effective and distinctive
instrument that it always has been. Also noteworthy is the reworking of "The Witch," the
hackneyed rock cliche of the lyrics eclipsed by its hypnotic and relentless, bass-heavy
throb, reminiscent of classic Sisters of Mercy tracks like "Floorshow."
Equally strong is the straight-ahead, no-nonsense drive of "It's Over," with its vaguely
Stooges guitar, bass and drum feel. Judging by this album, it's certainly not "over" for
Ian Astbury yet. Indeed, The Cult are currently back together -- again -- and recording.
It'll be interesting to see how much of the vitality and momentum of Spirit\Light\Speed
Astbury will be able translate back to his renewed partnership with Duffy.
Re-Birth Of The Sun King
Hey brothers, hey sisters lets take a trip of Spirit\Light\Speed with Ian on his astral
flight into the Naughties, Yeah he yeh!.
At last I have been able to buy Ian's long awaited solo project. It's been well worth
the wait! He's done it, he's fused punk, techno, industrial, rock and ambient music
into this fantastic album. The Wolf Child's voice has gained a regenerated tone
similar to the days Dreamtime/Love so if you have not yet bought, go and get it.
Back On Earth is where Ian is at and I hope continues to stay for a long time!
This track cunningly tricks you into thinking he's gone all plinky plonky until that
killer riff of a bass line rips open into real music, electronica swirls and dark
guitar rhythms bring us back to earth along with Ian. The album feels like you're on a
journey, travelling with him and what he has been through.
High Time Amplifier personally to me isn't the strongest song on the CD, but
that doesn't mean I don't like it. It's cool drum loops and fuzzy guitar hook are ok,
but I don't think this track warranted release as the first single, as the remainder
of the album strongly overshadows H T A.
Where next on this trip of Spirit\Light\Speed? I hear you ask, well, next stop is
Devils Mouth. This enchanting track grasped my attention as soon as the
ambient acoustics started, chimes, shaker and flute dancing through a slowly painted
soundscape that evolves into a really great track. The lyrics come across as very
personal to Ian, hence I guess the excellent singing, very mesmeric!
Tonite (Illuminated), the track I truly believe that should have been the
single, perhaps it may well be the second off the album if there are anymore planned.
As you'd expect from our idol he sweeps us back on the ride into Tonite, with crunchy
rhythm guitars, strings and all sorts of whirly synth sounds giving a cerebral fix
along with Chris Goss' ace Bass playing, this is my favourite track on the whole
If the preceding four tracks weren't enough, Metaphysical Pistol surely will
entrance and please you with its dark Massive Attack-esque bass line. This is my
favourite track on the album, the sheer dynamics of the way it has been produced and
the unusual combination of looped samples and excellent bass line and of course Ian
singing in his moodiest vocal mode here. Excellent!
The Witch (Slt Return) What else can be said of this well known classic Cult
track, only that it is even more rhythmic than ever before. As the first line says
So you finally found your rhythm man I guess Ian has definitely found his.
Get up Dance, groove and sing along with this track turned up to 10 on your amplifier
and have a High Time Amplifier brothers and sisters!!
It's Over I don't think so! Punk Rock is alive, thanks to Ian Astbury. My
third favourite on this now almost warn out CD (due to excessive playing!!!) excellent
guitars and cool drumming from our friend Scott Garrett makes this track a great
rocking little number which you'll never get bored of.
El Che/Wild Like a Horse I'm not totally convinced with this one, I can't
think of much to say about this one so I'll carry on to the next!
Tyger Another cool'n'moody track, Ian is at his sexiest here, Vocally that
is!!! Tremolo guitars and smooth bass lines along with snippets of samples pad
this lovely track out very well, I could imagine this as The Cult how I dreamed
they could have been after their split in 95.
Shambala (R.F.L) The track starts out as quiet ambient tune and the Bham!!
Punky guitars galore, rhythmic bangra style beats cool!!! As I said at the beginning
Ian and his producer have worked well to bring together all styles of music for our
Spirit/Light/Speed is a welcomed friend to my Cult and Cult related collection which
I consider should be placed up there with the Love/Sonic Temple album status i.e.
Successful!!! All that is left to say is Thanks Ian for a great album
Lets hope some of this style appears on the next Cult album, which I'm eagerly
awaiting the release of!!!
For now enjoy!! Peace!
Kev (StarChild) Robinson - Wales, United Kingdom
So the shaman of the north, the Navaho of Bradford is back again after what seems like
an eternity. The Cult fizzled out during a tour of South America in '95, only to reform
in March '99 after this album was awaiting release. "So my concept for the solo album
was that it should mix rock and electronica, be a cross between The Chemical Brothers
and The Plastic Ono Band, when John and Yoko were really being soulful and experimental"
claims our Ian grandly. Thus Spirit/Light/Speed opens up with Back On Earth and
the same Astbury banshee wail, but now with a funked up and modern-sounding backbeat,
topped off with some Sympathy -For-The-Devilish "wooh-woohing". High Time Amplifier
is the the lead single though, and it's a bolshy beat-laden rock thing, but I prefer the
vulnerability of Devil's Mouth, which is just simple, folksy, and beautiful. El
Che/Wild Like A Horse is another fantastic song and a far better future hit single
than the rather heavy-handed High Time Amplifier - but hey, what do I know?
Altogether then this is an interesting attempt to push the boundaries of rock forward,
whilst remaining exciting, vital, and most important of all it still ROCKS!!! Or as the
man himself has it: "Whenever people would talk about music in terms of high art we'd
always go 'No, no, it's visceral, it's sensual, it's sexual. It's not about discussion,
it's about ACTION.'" Quite, Ian, quite!
By Matt Carless
What would happen, have you ever wondered, if Tim Curry in Frank'n'Furter garb were to
be genetically fused at the voice box with Cilla Black? What do you mean, you've never
wondered that?! Well, anyway, should anyone care, you'd have what's called an Ian Astbury.
With a murky-looking album cover and a reminder that Astbury is in The Cult, don't you
know, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this is all a rather mediocre affair, for
indeed it is.
Metaphysical Pistol sounds like (and probably is) a tape playing backwards, High
Time Amplifier just _is_ Cilla Black, It's Over is a deceptive trick because
there are three more tracks after it and none of the lyrics are even remotely inspiring,
interesting or, the final saving grace for a songwriter, pop.
It's not that it's terrible - Astbury and collaborator Chris Goss achieve some startling
effects with the production of the album and in places the atmospherics are arresting. But
we are told that 'Spirit/Light/Speed' was recorded in the depths of a Californian desert,
yet quite what effect this has had on Astbury's writing remains unclear.
There are worse albums in the world, very definitely. But there are many better ones too.
Michael Hubbard - June 2000
Ian Astbury is no stranger to alternative techno music. Aside from the techno influence
that was evident on The Cult's last album, he also provided vocals on one track for rave
band Messiah's "21st Century Jesus" and his voice was sampled on CNN's infamous 'Young,
Stupid & White'. So, it is no big surprise that when he finally got around to recording
a solo album, techno music would play a big part in it.
However, he hasn't done anything sad like bring William Orbit or Fat Boy Slim in an
attempt to create something trendy and chartworthy. Instead, this is the sound of a
musician playing around in the studio with a lot of different elements, in a way that
fairly removed from what he normally does with The Cult. Back On Earth, for example,
is a fairly Stonesy track, featuring an "ooh, ooh" backing vocal straight out of Sympathy
For The Devil, combined with a fairly hard-hitting dance backing not a million miles
away from Moby's version of the James Bond theme. Devil's Mouth, on the other hand,
is very close to Chris Connelly's (Revolting Cocks, Damage Manual) quieter moments, backed
with a wall of strings. There's also an updating of The Cult's first foray into techno,
The Witch, which is far superior to the original.
All in all, this is the sound of Ian Astbury's instantly recognisable vocals, without the
big leather trousers and hairspray rock bullshit (no "Baby, baby, baybeee!" on this). He
sings, sometimes softly, sometimes more forcefully, but it's always him. This is also,
thankfully, free of Billy Duffy's windmill guitar-wanking. This is nothing groundbreaking,
but it is a fairly enjoyable updating of the beast that is Ian Astbury. The only question
that remains is whether this is intended to be a purging of his dance music inclinations,
or whether this stuff will be an element of the new Cult Rising sound. Time will tell, but
here's hoping it's the latter.
Donnacha DeLong (Sorted MagAZine)
Let's face it. When your expectations are zero, it's not hard to beat them. Thankfully, if
you consider Holy Barbarians or that last Cult album ground zero in the no-expectation
category, then Ian Astbury's solo record Spirit/Light/Speed is a huge jump forward into
competence. Don't be fooled, this is in no way comparable to early Cult masterworks, but
songs like Tonight (Illuminated) and Metaphyscial Pistol show an ambition that
seemed lacking in the last few Astbury projects. It's not a great artistic rediscovery, but
at least it doesn't suck.
Aaron Brophy (Chartattack.com)
Ian Astbury, lead singer for the Cult, is back with a solo effort. Fans of the Cult won't
be disappointed with this album. Back On Earth opens up with an electrified guitar
riff that resembles a high-energy James Bond theme song. High Time Amplifier keeps
the juice flowing. Astbury croons over a couple ballads, Devil's Mouth and
Tonight, before experimenting with the sounds of trip-hop on Holy Traffic. A
remake of the Cult's The Witch rocks hard, with fuzzy guitar riffs and vocoder-distorted
vocals. The space rock-influenced Tyger is reminiscent of Radiohead. Astbury has
clearly been listening to a broad range of musical styles, and does them all justice on
Natural Born Guerilla.
Ian Astbury, lead singer for the Cult, has just released his solo album entitled
"Spirit\Light\Speed." For those of you who are fans of the Cult's raw, guitar driven
assault, it may take a few listens to get comfy with this disc. But those who love Ian's
passionate, unique vocals will be totally pleased. This album experiments with samples,
programmed drums, ambient noises, and keyboards melting together with raw electric guitar
and a touch of the acoustic on several ballads.
The first 2 tracks Back On Earth and High Time Amplifier are pushed by heavy
dance beat grooves and electrically charged earthy vocals. Ian sings optimistically about
Mother Earth and the possibility of peace and happiness through union with our planet and
each other. His sensitive side emerges with Devil's Mouth, a mid-tempo acoustic ballad
in which he sings "There's a devil in your mouth, but an angel in your heart.."
Other standout tracks include the slow dirty beat of Metaphysical Pistol with its Lou
Reed-ish vocals and a feel of an intoxicating stroll down the back alleys of New York City.
Tracks The Witch and It's Over are reminiscent of earlier Cult along the lines
of "Electric" and "Sonic Temple." It's Over may be my fave, with it's groovy, clean
guitar breaking into a heavy wah-wah riff providing the bed for Ian's soaring vocals. The
next 2 cuts El Che/Wild Like A Horse and Tyger are similar in style and lyrical
approach. Mid-tempo semi-ballads about the black and white sides of a beautiful woman, cunning
yet exquisite, dirty yet pristine. He seems to be entranced by the fallen angel syndrome.
On the whole this album honestly took a few listens to get a grip on. But don't all great
records? Ian's vocals are the shining point, still vibrato enhanced, passionate, and classy.
I recommend this as an album to taste and chew on a bit at a time to truly savor it, and a
must for fans of Ian and the Cult.
Steve Blaze (Metal Masters)
Whether it's the result of a karmic quirk or of nostalgic indulgence on the part of rock fans,
there's no denying that Astbury's career suddenly and almost inexplicably has more legs than
a Catholic girls' school. A founding member of the Cult, a group whose blend of old-school
swagger and college-radio cool almost single-handedly kept the sound of electric guitars
ringing on dance floors from Boston to Birmingham, Astbury in recent years has apparently
overcome the vocal woes and substance-abuse problems that often made his band's live shows
less than satisfying. What's more, last year the singer rejoined guitarist Billy Duffy and
original Cult bassist Martyn Lenoble for a tour that clearly outshone anything the group did
during its commercial heyday, if a somewhat sparsely but enthusiastically attended stop at
Denver's Fillmore Auditorium is any indication. What's more, Astbury's once-again full-throated
howl can currently be heard on Painted On My Heart, a song penned by hit machine Diane
Warren that's the closing theme of the flick Gone in 60 Seconds. So will this renewed level
of exposure catapult Astbury and his mates into a lengthy and lucrative resurgence like that
of Aerosmith, another hard-rocking outfit that rose from the ashes of its own excess on the
strength of twelve-step recovery and power ballads slicker than the floor of your local Jiffy
Lube? Only if efforts like this CD are buried -- promptly and deeply.
Even Spirit\Light\Speed's most listenable cuts -- Back On Earth and Tonight
(Illuminated) -- don't stay that way for long, mainly because of Astbury's limited melodic
sense and penchant for noodling extensively with synthesized sounds in a desperate but vain
attempt to prove he's still hip. Similar ills drag down High Time Amplifier, a tune
whose rhythm track -- an edgy amalgam of tribal and techno influences -- is wasted under a
chorus that makes Louie Louie sound imaginative. Tyger, on the other hand,
sports some sinewy minor-key harmonies but ultimately is castrated by Astbury's
uncharacteristic crooning of nonsense syllables, to say nothing of his laughable lyrical
attempts to pay homage to poet William Blake. Conversely, Astbury's decision to offer up
the 1989 composition The Witch (Slt Return), herein gussied up with more speaker-panning
effects than an entire Pink Floyd album, smacks less of a desire for artistic expression than
a too-late attempt to cash in on the success of The Blair Witch Project. The most disappointing
aspect of Spirit\Light\Speed, however, is its lack of dynamic variations and song development,
problems that are most evident in El Che/Wild Like a Horse. While classic Cult cuts such
as Edie (Ciao Baby) rose to compelling -- if lyrically cryptic -- crescendos powered
mainly by Duffy's muscular licks, Che supplies no support, sonic or semantic, for the
singer's assertion that the femme fatale he's addressing is indeed as untamed as the song's
namesake. It's Over, on the other hand, places the guitars solidly front and center,
if only to distract listeners' attention from the limpness of lines such as Life travels
faster than sound. Played out over this selection's nearly five-and-a-half-minute length,
such shortcomings lend unintended significance to Astbury's mantra-like repetition of the coda:
Say that it's over/So fuckin' over.
By John Jesitus (Westword Online)