Featuring 15 cuts by one of England’s premier modern-day rock bands, The Cult’s Best of Rare Cult collection gets under way with the original version of “Love Removal Machine.” Recorded for an aborted album titled Peace, just prior to it being completely recut by Rick Rubin at Electric Ladyland in New York City, one can clearly see a veritable growth from linear goth-psychedelia, to the full-on AC/DC-Godhead worship of Electric. “Zap City,” (a longtime staple in the band’s live sets) is a decent, if somewhat ordinary rock track. The ensuing “Faith Healer,” cut in ’92, is a cover of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s 1973 song featuring the mega-arena-rock production which permeated the band’s lackluster Ceremony offering.
Delving backward again for a moment, the extended 12-inch version of Love’s “Sanctuary” is fantastic, as is “Little Face,” an outstanding outtake from the aforementioned album. For some incomprehensible reason, the band rerecorded an acoustic version of “Edie (Ciao Baby),” available stateside for the first time. It originally surfaced as a bonus track on the UK version of “Heart of Soul.” “Spanish Gold,” another delightful mid-tempo rocker, makes its first U.S. appearance here as well. “Love Trooper” is also taken from the aborted Peace session — it was originally released as the UK B-side for the “Wildflower” single.
The misguided, somewhat laughable “The River,” an outtake from the histrionics of Sonic Temple is a Doors-meets-Led Zeppelin faux pas which clearly falls way below the top-notch Temple material. Two additional Temple outtakes, “Bleeding Heart Graffiti” and “Lay Down Your Gun,” never really develop into anything and, unfortunately, both are unfulfilling due to their misguided arrangements. More oddities surface here as “No. 13” (the B-side to “Sanctuary”) and “Sea and Sky” (which dates way back to the band’s Southern Death Cult days) are now available for the first time. Both are essential historical documents. “Join Hands” ends Best of Rare Cult on an anthemic note, replete with na-naa-naa-naa choruses, thereby putting a lid on a hit-and-miss collection of Cult oddities.
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