Published March 20, 2014
Cupid Makes A Fool Of Me
Just Another Snake Cult’s ‘Cupid Makes A Fool Of Me’ could be described as a concept album on the theme of love. But if the very idea of such a thing is enough to make you run for the hills, stop and think twice, because it’s also something of an opus.
For anyone interested in psych, lo-fi, prog-rock and acid-pop, this album has a lot to offer. If you’re into Joe Meek, Phil Spector and Syd Barrett or more recent revivalists and trailblazers like Ariel Pink, Future Islands, John Maus or Bradford Cox, ‘Cupid Makes A Fool Of Me’ is like a musical selection box. From the trippy, backwards introduction to its hypnotic final track, it traces a lovelorn path through some varied sonic territory via a series of weird, wonky, memorable songs that transcend their many influences.
The palette and production bear many ‘70s and ‘80s hallmarks, including a tight echo on the vocals, drum machines with reverb, atonal zither and some chunky-sounding guitars. It’s a mixed bag of sounds that arrive with a crisp clarity, avoiding the common pitfall of obscuring the tunes behind a fog of effects.
Another key element is the delivery of the lead vocal: an arresting mannered drawl that manages to be both theatrical and heartfelt. On the album’s wonderful closer, a cover of Woody Guthrie & Billy Bragg’s “Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key,” it’s easy to imagine the protagonist as a mournful Disney hippo roaming the forest in a melancholy haze, hollering his heartbreak. This album’s rich internal landscape bears being wandered at length by the listener.
Despite its intrinsic oddness, ‘Cupid Makes A Fool Of Me’ is a compelling record that feels ready-made for America’s booming leftfield indie audience. Let’s hope it finds its way into plenty of record collections.