Discovered via Bandcamp and quickly signed to a major label (Columbia), Cults’ debut didn’t seem to stand a chance. But then something strange happened: Cults the album worked, thanks to an earwormy blend of hooky guitars and somber-sweet ’60s girl-group melodies. While sophomore effort Static doesn’t veer too far from the original formula, it also really doesn’t pack the punch of its predecessor. In its first incarnation, Cults was all about blending bummer lyrics with Madeline Follin’s upbeat, sing-songy deliveries. Here, the orchestrations stay relatively cheery, but the morose deliveries and Static-y production tricks suck the life right out of the thing. It’s a shame, too, because there’s a wellspring of goodness lurking beneath the fuzzy surface. (See late-album highlight “We’ve Got It.”) Ultimately, though, Static suffers from trying to complicate Cults beyond its simple, catchy trappings.

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