Spirit Light Speed might only be the solo project from Ian Astbuylead singer from The Cultbut is undoubtedly a more convincing album than some of the band's latest material.
The album reflects Astbury’s personal taste for electronic sounds, groovy rhythms, and pure rock, what shouldn’t be a surprise for those who spotted him here in LA attending shows of major electronic acts such as Primal Scream.
Spirit Light Speed is in the continuity of The Cult’s last album & single “The Witch”. But more than duplicating these, this new material makes its own mark by persuasively blending big rhythms, weird electronic arrangements, and of course Astbury’s haunting vocalssomething The Cult couldn’t achieve with their last release.
“Back On Earth” opens this album in full force with its big beats, saturated bass and “Sympathy For The Devil” influenced vocals. “High Time Amplifier” with its rhythms, big bass and killer guitars is a catchy single that will hammer you. Then the album slows down with the charming questions on the ballad “Devil’s Mouth” while “Tonight” mixes a good chorus and electronic experiments much in the same vein as Primal Scream's last opus Xtrminator. Moby’s influence is evident on "Metaphysical Pistol" with its monotonous phrase and synth waves. “The Witch” doesn’t really distant itself from The Cult‘s version and only seems here to be claimed back by the singer. “It’s Over” is one of the best tracks with its catchy chorus reminiscent of classic Cult and infectious wah-wah guitar. The politically flavored “El Che” is a beautiful and melancholic hommage to the revolutionary icon, while the last two songs close the cd on a welcome mid-tempo.
With Spirit Light Speed, Ian Astbury proves that his talent goes further than holding the microphone on an album that should reach far beyond The Cult’s fans. Astbury is one of the last of his breed: a rock star with no need for whiny sarcasm.