Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Cult Icon are bringing back modern blues rock with hard hitting release 'The Steel' EP

In a music scene filled with increasing electronic reliance, over production, and hyped up aesthetics, sometimes all you really want is a straight up rock band. The confidently named Cult Icon prove that they are just that with 'The Steel EP'. 

Describing themselves on their social media as “five lads from the wrong side of the Mersey”, Cult Icon hail from the small town of Birkenhead, Merseyside which perhaps explain why their music feels full of frustration and disillusion, while fuelled with palpable ambition. For fans of bands like The Black Keys, Kings of Leon, Bon Jovi, and Kaleo, Cult Icon's deep dive into Americana and Blues with a modern alternative rock flavour might feel like the revival you've been waiting for. 

After releasing a few singles since their formation in 2019, their latest offering ‘The Steel EP’ arrives with a clear focus and drive with an extremely promising taste of where they might be going. With catchy lyrics delivered with soulful, impactful vocals, head-banging guitar riffs, and unexpected energy changes, Cult Icon have a lot to show off in just four tracks. 

Steel’ is a strong opening track - essentially a hard blues rock anthem that feels like it would be playing in a dive bar during a brawl (but in a cool way). Strong, attitude filled vocals accompanied by a driving twelve bar blues style guitar establish the tone for this EP - a cleanly played and expertly produced record that still has a rough and ready edge. 

The next track ‘Raincheck’ allows itself to develop some more character and steer away from genre staples. Particularly on the drums, there’s a nice mix of allowing minimalism to effortlessly create the right texture and saving space to really pound the skins and crash the crashes when the time comes. The retro-feel pinched harmonics on the guitar with a rolling groove on the rhythm guitar work nicely to keep things interesting, later doubling over into a distorted repeat as the energy picks up unexpectedly towards the end of the track. 

Miss You’ is a lovely, sincere ballad, showing a simpler but honest side to Cult Icon’s songwriting and style. The guitars are kept super clean with a country-ish twang without feeling too kitschy. The vocals in particular stand out here, screeching and pleading the reminiscent lyrics. 

The EP closes out on a high with the surprise belter ‘See You Go’. This final track slowly eases things back to the blues rock zone after the previous ballad, with sparse instrumentation building towards a major energy shift about half way through, and fading out to a moody, effective end. 

As their first long-form release, The Steel EP certainly shows you what Cult Icon are made of and send the message that they are a band who have a clear identity, crowd-pleasing songs, and an ambition as strong as steel.

Aoife McMahon

Image Credit: Billy Vick Rock Photography 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment Here;