Two years before the 1989 release of ‘Sonic Temple’, The Cult shocked many of their goth-tinged indie followers with the release of ‘Electric’, a hard rock-infused blast of an album that subverted many of the indie rock tropes. Introducing distorted riffs, wild guitar solos and posturing more befitting a heavy metal devil-worshiping rock band, this was quite a change of direction.
There are, to this day, many discussions about whether this was self-mockingly ironic tongue-in-cheek posturing or a genuine shift in musical direction, but it caught many – including myself – by complete surprise given their previous hit was ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ – a psych pop jangly masterpiece. The real element of surprise was for me, to be honest, how much I loved this new direction despite my previously held resolute antipathy to anything that resembled posturing heavy metal. And the band were clearly enjoying themselves.
‘Sonic Temple’ proved that ‘Electric’ was not a temporary diversion. In this album, The Cult firmly consolidate their harder edge, keeping former indie fans and reaching out to a whole new audience. While some of the excesses of ‘Electric’ were dialed down to some extent (indeed, surely nothing could ever match the outrageous but satisfactory buffoonery of ‘Love Removal Machine’), ‘Sonic Temple’ continued to combine an indie sensibility with an hard rock edge within what were brilliant anthemic stadium roof-raising songs just built for the larger than life core of the band, singer Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy.
The success of the four singles released off the album – ‘Fire Woman’, ‘Sun King’. ‘Edie (Ciao Baby)’ and ‘Sweet Soul Sister’ – resulted the ultimate peak of The Cult’s global success, reaching top 10 in the UK (3)and US (10), their best selling album ever.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of this brilliant album, The Cult is releasing an absolute treasure trove of Sonic Temple goodies – entitled The Cult: Sonic Temple 30 on 13 September 2019 and going on tour in the UK.
UK October Dates
Tue 15th Nottingham, UK – Rock City
Thu 17th Birmingham, UK – O2 Academy
Fri 18th Cardiff, Wales – Cardiff University
Sun 20th Leeds, UK – O2 Academy
Mon 21st Aberdeen, Scotland – The Music Hall
Tue 22nd Glasgow, Scotland – O2 Academy
Thu 24th Manchester, UK – Apollo
Sun 27th London, UK – Eventim Apollo
Mon 28th Bristol, UK – O2 Academy
Tue 29th Portsmouth, UK – Guildhall
The BOX SET contains three pieces of vinyl and a cassette plus tour memorabilia and ephemera (replica of original laminate, backstage pass, original press releases, label copy and more). It’s numbered and limited to 3000 pieces worldwide and contains 40 tracks, four of which are previously unreleased. LP1+2 contain the album as originally released. LP3 contains Live At Wembley recorded by the BBC, and the included cassette contains limited-release demos. Four of the live tracks are previously unreleased.
The FIVE-CD SET contains 53 tracks (including 6 previously unreleased) with the original album on disc 1, alternate edits, mixes, extended versions and acoustic versions on disc 2, limited-release demos on discs 3 & 4 and Live at Wembley recorded by the BBC on disc 5. Six of the live tracks are previously unreleased. It is beautifully packaged in book form with rare photographs and interviews with the band by esteemed UK journalist James Brown.
The DOUBLE LP is a revamped reissue of the original album. Now cut onto two pieces of black vinyl, the audio is improved and contains 16 tracks total, which comprise the original album plus 6 B-sides. It’s been out of print for over 20 years.
The DIGITAL version will replicate the CD-set but excludes the original album for a total of 43 tracks.
Full details of merchandise and tour tickets can be found here.