Artist: Cult Of Youth
Album: Love Will Prevail
Label: Sacred Bones / Cargo Records
Sean Ragon has been active in the DIY punk, industrial and experimental music communities on the east coast for over 15 years. Ragon also runs a record store and label in Brooklyn (Heaven Street and Blind Prophet Records, respectively). He has been recording under the moniker of CULT OF YOUTH for the last five years. CULT OF YOUTH’s last album produced by Chris Coady was a huge leap forward for the band, which had expanded to a four piece. It landed them on tours with ZOLA JESUS, COLD CAVE and ICEAGE last summer and caused quite a stir not only among more indie-centric press outlets such as Pitchfork and Stereogum but with underground publications such as Heathen Harvest and Special Interests magazine as well.
For this album Ragon built his own recording studio from scratch in the back of his record store. This allowed him to control every aspect of the album and to take his time recording; in addition to vocals, he plays five different instruments on “Love Will Prevail” (electric and acoustic guitar, trombone, synth, and bass. He also engineered and mixed the entire album by himself. For long time fans of the project, “Love Will Prevail” sees the marriage of the spontaneity of the earlier releases with the better recording quality of the more recent eponymous LP. The record features contributions from Glenn Maryansky on drums and Christiana Key on violin as well as percussion from the enigmatic Ning Nong and female vocals from former BATTLETORN vocalist (and Sean’s long term girlfriend) Beverly Hames.
“Love Will Prevail” expands on the psychedelic neofolk foundation of the early work and adds lush atmospheres not dissimilar from Austrian post-industrial futurists NOVÝ SVĚT (or even the more haunting side of late-60s MILES DAVIS). There is also an intentional nod to the Crass Records bands that influenced Ragon as a teenager and a tasteful hint of VELVET UNDERGROUND worship. The lyrical content is also fairly politically charged this time around, and serves as a plea for peace in a world gone mad. A far cry from the first self released single, “Train To Kill”, perhaps. The first single, “Man and Man’s Ruin” finally realizes the majestic beauty that has always been bubbling under the surface of Ragon’s work. “Love Will Prevail” is by far and away CULT OF YOUTH’s crowning achievement and it is the true embodiment of DIY idealism.
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