My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult: Spooky Tricks

My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, which we’ll hereafter refer to as ‘The Kult’ to save some space, is easily one of the most influential, and perhaps the most prolific band the electronic underground has ever seen.  Since their groundbreaking work in the 80s and 90s with such legendary tunes as “The Day of Swine and Roses,” and their appearance in The Crow, as well as “Sex on Wheels” appearing on the Cool World soundtrack, they’ve been constantly redefining their own sound while sticking to their classic vision of sleaze, and finally, five years after Death Threat, The Kult is back with their new full-length, Spooky Tricks, which just dropped on May 6th.  I (editor), grew up listening to these cats, so I’m entirely familiar with everything they’ve ever done including all the interesting remix tracks and albums.  Calling it “My Life” would probably be more accurate as “Entire Life” in this particular case, but don’t ask my age, please.  Their publicist was nice enough to send all of the tracks prior to release, so we took the time here to listen to it several goes to get a complete feel of it in several situations, minus sex, but that will come later once a certain someone is convinced of it.  Spooky Tricks is in many ways exactly what you’d expect.  Kult fans will find exactly what they desire, but newer converts to the way of the flesh may be craving a bit more, though still entirely satisfied and symbolically spent in the process.


Basing our starting position on The Kult’s previous work, Spooky Tricks combines the best beats of their work up to the The Reincarnation of Luna era, and aims primarily for the drive-in 60s and 70s sluttery they’ve been focusing on since around Gay Black and Married.  However, in the process, they’ve also dipped back further into their repertoire, adding back ideas of the surreal, the mystical, the occult, and B-movie sci-fi and horror for their sound development.  Previous Kult releases have also included a harder edge via cutting guitars, but you’re not going to find much of that here.  The main focus of this album is sordid dance funk groove, with science.  The awesome thing is that 100% of this album is good for that, there isn’t a single bummer track to be found here.  The beats are classic and you’ll find your body gyrating with motions you thought you were too old to still pull off, and it all has that usual Kult air of smoke-halo opiate speak.  They’ve been masters of writing lyrics for decades now, and their command of samples is still the best there ever was.  Anyone who’s familiar with their work in this regard knows they go for the unknown and bring back the best of it, and most of you will likely never know where any of it came from, which is exactly what a sample should be in essence.


So yeah, Spooky Tricks is The Kult at their best.  Their best grooves.  Their best seediness.  Their best atmospheres.  One of the finest things about this album is how they’ve taken classic sounds any fan will know and created a much denser release.  The layers are thick with a variety of electronic patterns, enough that after several listens you’ll still find something new.  Plus, again, this album is so dance-heavy it’s almost impossible not to enjoy it in practically any situation, even sex, which we’ll get to here eventually on our own time.  Please let us relax first, there’s too much blood flow to the wrong areas at the moment.  The Kult has probably released here their best selection of dance-type tracks in their entire output history.  That’s kind of the only bummer about this.  A few additions of some of that harder edge would have really drawn this one together, and though the tracks are dense, the beats are pretty straightforward.  None of them are going to change consciousness, they’re easy to force through your body and move, but it would have been interesting to perhaps see The Kult go for a little more of that modern IDM weirdness.  Not enough that it became inaccessible, but enough that it threw even their own fans for a “hmm, check that out” loop that would elevate the work presented here further.  Don’t get us wrong, it’s awesome, and Kult fans are going to get exactly what they expected out of it, but more casual fans may have been hoping for just a bit more.  Either way, well worth the wait.


My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult: Spooky Tricks
Sleazebox Records
4.5 / 5