"Mirror", the new Juan Azulay-directed music video from THE CULT, can be seen below. The song is taken from the band's latest album, "Under The Midnight Sun", which arrived on October 7 via Black Hill Records. The LP was produced by Tom Dalgety (PIXIES, GHOST, ROYAL BLOOD).
When the sun just wouldn't leave the sky one evening in Finland, THE CULT singer Ian Astbury took notice. Walking the grounds of the Provinssirock festival, Astbury found himself revelling in the surreal, almost occult moment that comes with the "midnight sun," the summer stretch where the sun doesn't go down north of the Arctic Circle.
"It's three in the morning, the sun's up, and there's all these beautiful people in this halcyon moment," Astbury remembered. "People are laying on the grass, making out, drinking, smoking. There were rows of flowers at the front of the stage from the performances earlier that evening. It was an incredible moment." While reviewing archival footage of the performance, Astbury found new mysticism in that moment and imbued it into the forthcoming "Under The Midnight Sun".
Leading to 2020, THE CULT had been on a rolling cycle of releasing albums, touring, and recording. As the world shut down, everyone was forced to reprioritize the way they approached life and work.
"When the world stopped, I had this moment to write in real time, to calculate," said Astbury. When lockdown lifted and the group could meet to record, they teamed up with Dalgety. "I was compelled by this vision, this anomaly, this memory, of being under the midnight sun. Tom helped us bring a new musical shape and frequency to our process."
Lyrically, "Under The Midnight Sun" bolsters that new musical dexterity by building out from the idyllic and surreal vision at its title. Throughout, Astbury pulls in influences from Brian Jones, Brion Gysin, William Burroughs, Buddhism, the Beats, and the Age of Aquarius, all shaded with the lingering threat of the present and the timeless CULT color palette.
As THE CULT is now returning to performing live and sharing "Under The Midnight Sun", Astbury hopes that the record connects to something deep within and subconscious in their listeners — something Astbury found within himself when given the moment to look for it.
"At the core of it all, music contains the vibrational frequency of how we once communicated before we could even speak," he said. "Bird songs, animal calls, string theory, quantum physics, psychedelics. The record ultimately is about finding and uniting beauty in those strangely natural moments."
Astbury praised Dalgety's contributions to "Under The Midnight Sun" in a recent interview with Dayton Daily News, saying: "There are very few guys doing guitar-based music in the U.K. There are a lot of great digital producers, electronic producers, hip-hop producers and pop producers, but when it comes to guitars and vocals, it's a very particular animal. You really have to be in the room. You really have to be present. Sometimes you become a member of the band. Tom Dalgety immersed himself into the infrastructure and ecosystem of the band. He became like another member. He did some dope work on this record."
Astbury added that having a break from touring during the coronavirus pandemic gave the members of THE CULT more time to work on the material with Dalgety.
"We got the opportunity to really let songs be fully realized," Astbury said. "Usually, pre-pandemic, you're on a cycle of tour, record, tour, record, tour, record, but with this album, we had a lot more time for introspection. A lot went into this record. I believe the subject matter and the sound of it will resonate with people. True to form, we're not repeating ourselves. There will be some familiar stuff, but it's not like people will be able to access it very quickly. It's very strong on content. There are strong guitars. It's quite visceral, very emotional, because it's channeling the moment. I guess it's our take on that."
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