Just like The Waterboys, The Cult also performed on May 19th, 1986 at the Dutch Pinkpop Festival. Just as The Waterboys they introduced new material and, once again just like The Waterboys, it signalled a new route for the band. On the occasion of the release of The Manor Sessions EP 30 years ago, this article follows the path leading from Love, through Peace to Electric.
The 1985 album Love was a success for The Cult. The single She Sells Sanctuary had even turned into a hit. The band performed on every big festival and their shows sold out. A sequel had to be made.
The Manor Sessions
In the summer of 1986 the band went into the studio (the Manor Studio in Oxfordshire, England, property of Richard Branson) with producer Steve Brown. Brown had been responsible for the production of Love. Following the motto “never change a winning team”, the band set out to work. A total of 11 songs were recorded. The new album, provisionally titled Peace, was ready to go. Or wasn’t it?
No, it wasn’t. Halfway through the Love tour the band was in search of a new sound. When singer Ian Astbury heard the song Cooky Puss by the Beastie Boys (which was produced by Rick Rubin), he knew the band’s route had to change. It had to be more raw, direct, just as the band sounded live.
However, the record company wanted a sequel to the Love album, preferably just as, or more, successful than Love. Logic dictated that Steve Brown was employed again. Years later, the band would state it wasn’t very clever to go into the (expensive) studio and compile the new album in the studio. The songs all originated while on tour and hadn’t been fully developed yet.
The band stayed at the Manor Studio for a period of three months, in a luxurious environment with everything close at hand that the band could possibly want. Despite all good intentions, something had changed. The band had moved on and wanted something else, but wasn’t entirely sure of how and what. Upon completion of the album, the band had the indefinable feeling the album was not ready. The songs were good in itself, but they were too long and had too much work done on them.
A meet was arranged with Rick Rubin. The band wanted his input. Because Love Removal Machine was planned to be the first single, the band asked Rubin to remix the song, and maybe the whole album after that. Rubin agreed, on one condition. The band had to pick a song they were least satisfied with and re-record that from scratch, letting him produce the song. The band picked Peace Dog. After the song had been (re)recorded, the decision was made quickly. The whole album was redone and Peace was shelved. The next album would be released in 1987 under the moniker Electric.
Just as with The Waterboys, many fans were disappointed upon Electric‘s release. It was a hard rock album, a genre that wasn’t particularly popular back then. It sounded more like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin than the post-punk band that so many loved. But, the general public discovered The Cult following the release of the first single Love Removal Machine.
On December 1st, 1988, the EP The Manor Sessions was released. I bought it at the time and understood why the band had decided to start anew. Wild Flower in particular sounds so much better on Electric. But still, The Manor Sessions is a great document.
- Love Removal Machine
- Wild Flower
- Electric Ocean
- Bad Fun
In 2013 all Peace recordings were added to the remaster of the Electric album, using the moniker Electric Peace.
- Love Removal Machine *
- Wild Flower *
- Peace Dog *
- Aphrodisiac Jacket *
- Electric Ocean *
- Bad Fun *
- Zap City
- Love Trooper
- Outlaw *
- Groove Co.
* = Also released on Electric.
What do you think of The Manor Sessions/Peace? Is Electric the right decision? Let me know!
The Cult – Logo 1985-1986 image: post-punk.com
The Cult – The Manor Sessions image: youtube.com
Manor Studio, Oxfordshire image: archive.is
The Cult – Love Removal Machine (promo single) & The Cult – Electric Peace 2013 images: discogs.com
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