Emerging in 1977 in the live-fast, record-fast, play-fast and then leg it to oblivion days, Cult Figures’ punk pedigree cannot be disputed. Later this month, they return with a brand new album.
Cult Figures hit the same Birmingham punk scene as Swell Maps, Spizzenergi and The Nightingales (now the subject of the acclaimed Stewart Lee documentary King Rocker). They played some gigs, released two singles, but by 1980 it was all over.
Their debut album came some 38 years later.
But don’t write them off, as Cult Figures are back with an – at-first – non-punk sounding follow-up album to 2018’s The 166 Ploughs A Lonely Furrow.
It certainly won’t earn the dubious honour of a review like renowned music journo Paul Morley gave their 1979 debut single Zip Nolan (a comic book American Highway Patrolman who for some inexplicable reason fought crime in the middle of Britain).
Morley described it as ‘moronic minimalism’. Badge of honour anyone?
Deritend – named after a historic industrial area of their home city Birmingham (its arts complex is brilliantly called The Custard Factory) – is described by the band as ‘reflecting a maturity gained in 40 years of life.’ And it is. No moronic melodies here, just polished punk, pop and psychedelia.
Experience-of-our-life lyrics over a tightly honed sound – check out key tracks including opener Chicken Bones, Donut Life, Silver Blades and Lights Out.
The influence of Swell Maps may be gone but the album is well worth a stream or download. In fact, it’s released on LP, CD and download by Gare du Nord records on 26 March.
Deritend is available to pre-order on CD and vinyl here and digitally here.
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Cult Figures are: Singer Gary Jones, guitarist Jon Hodgson, guitarist/keyboardist Barney Russel, bassist Lee McFadden and drummer Stuart Hilton.
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I’m Roger Kasper, 55. A punk since October 77 when the Stranglers rocked Top of the Pops with No More Heroes. Journalist since 1983 with stints on national newspapers and magazines and editor of local papers. I’m Gravesend born and dragged up I keep poultry, garden, run and generally make a nuisance of myself!