Lilies have a few symbolic purposes in culture. From Greek culture in particular, the lily represents birth and motherhood, and also sexuality. In Christian symbolism, it stands for chastity, innocence, and purity. When we get into the esoteric, we can combine the symbols of purity, innocence and fertility together, and then add in vulnerability and freedom of identity.
This week’s album is made by a musical group known for their love of exploration and consideration of the details, I wonder which symbols their lilies represent?
The Cult – Hidden City
released February 12, 2016
The Cult are a British rock group which have been reunited twice since forming in 1983. Touted as a post-punk and goth-rock band since their inception, they are famous for the singles She Sells Sanctuary and Rain.
The group gained enough traction to enter into North American markets by the end of the 1980’s and kind of did things at their own pace after that point.
Hidden City is the 10th studio album by The Cult, and the third in a “spiritual trilogy” produced by Bob Rock.
I’ve always been a fan of The Cult since I first discovered them in my teenage years. This was well after they had already broken up once and were on their way to another split, but GTA: Vice City introduced a 90’s kid to popular music from the 1980’s, which I’m thankful for. And so not content to collect the anthology, I eventually decided to buy Best of Rare Cult; a compilation of selected songs from the Rare Cult box set, which had been released in the fall 2000.
Maybe I’m fortunate for this decision or maybe not, but Hidden City features the energy of that compilation album and some of their more experimental artistic decisions.
For instance, Dark Energy is an incredibly appropriate high energy opener, laced with helpings of both mysticism and spirituality, something to get you excited and remind you why The Cult has a cult following, so-to-speak. How convenient for them!
In Blood features soft beats and dreamlike lyrics, while Birds of Paradise takes this further and really heightens the emotional pull.
Hinterland feels like an anthem for spiritual awareness but upon closer inspection I think it’s also an admission of guilt by Ian Astbury to the problems of ignorance and following routine in an age of connectivity and political intrusion.
But that’s the thing about The Cult. The surface and the core aren’t always the same and they play with this idea throughout the record.
Avalanche of Light has a great chorus and reminds me the major reason why this album exists in the first place. The Cult are exploring the intimate and the unknown – Hidden City is a metaphor for us. The tools may be guitars, drums, and microphones, but the result is still the same, a record by The Cult which features goth-rock like tracks Lilies and Deeply Ordered Chaos, which share in the metaphors of life.
You should check out the audio video for Dark Energy and the music videos for Deeply Ordered Chaos and Hinterland to get a taste for the album, but if you like The Cult, goth-rock or are looking for a place to test the waters of hard rock, Hidden City is a good place to go spelunking.
At albums end, I have to admit I’m not perfectly sold on the perfection of these tracks, but this is a damn good record either way. I’m inclined to theorize The Cult is pulling all of those lily symbols in and out of their songs, but I’ll let you be your own judge, after all, you have your own Hidden City to look after.
See you tomorrow for another shadowy review, this time it’ll be a movie.