Beggars Banquet - BEGA 80 CD

People who don't like this album are going to say it's haunted. There are enough ghosts floating around the grooves to crowd Jimi Hendrix's old studio, Electric Lady (where, not coincidentally, this was recorded). But despite the hovering shades of Zeppelin, Bon Scott and others, Electric does more than pilfer bygone metal mayhem. It swaggers, crunches and howls, all right, but it does so with irreverence (not surprising with raunch expert Rick Rubin behind the board). You can bet it's no accident, for example, that the album's one cover tune is the track whose lyric made the phrase "heavy metal" part of the public vocabulary - Steppenwolf's Born to Be Wild. Suitably, Ian Astbury sings it as if he'd just gargled with acid - take your pick which kind.

This record could've been unbearably heavy-handed. But lovingly snide pranks like the snaky guitar riff in Aphrodisiac Jacket and Astbury's onomatopoeic sound effect on the words cool operator with a rattlesnake kiss, in Memphis Hip Shake give Electric a wry humor that keeps it from drowning in self-indulgence. Granted, there are moments where you wish that Billy Duffy didn't want quite so badly to be a guitar god and that Astbury would expand his lyrics beyond trippy love-rites and oblique allegories, but this album isn't the Cult raising ghosts; it's just the Cult raising a little Cain.

Robin J. Schwartz - Rolling Stone Magazine

A friend of mine is a diehard postpunk aesthete. He has a soft spot for any old muck with a flanged D minor guitar chord floating around in it. Example: the Cult's Love.

He was properly horrified when his stylus first made contact with Electric.

I mean, there's sludge, and then there's SLUDGE.

Some clumsy, dim ex-Goths decided they wanted to ROCK OUT. Naturally, they ended up with something that is not especially kick-ass. It is bad poetry, with guitar riffs born of brain death. It is a lame amalgam of Deep Purple and Iron Butterfly, with a whiff of whatever AC/DC Sabbath Zeppelin monolith they were aiming to create.

And it has provided me and mine with enough laughs to last us through the end of the millenium.

Wouldn't you know it. I can't find the bastard album. Tempted to say someone stole it, but last time I did that, I ended up telling everyone a beloved LP had been lifted by some houseguests of a subletter. I found it horribly misfiled six months later.

Ah, I could do this one in my sleep. Why to buy this album:

--Ian Astbury's handsome wildebeest headdress.

--The way he shrieks Salt shaker! in Love Removal Machine, among many aurally misbegotten lyrical turns. Not to mention the actual, lovingly printed words: Cookin' in the kitchen / Insects on the bone.

--Billy Duffy's brazenly stupified lead guitar playing.

--Born to Be Wild (and you thought Steppenwolf was hamfisted).

--The drumming is actually pretty good!

--The record SOUNDS great, which makes it even funnier.

A thickheaded tour de force, Electric has aged much better than Spinal Tap.

Tim Midgett