As long as I’ve been playing music and watching shows in Memphis I’ve noticed a few things. One thing is that a lot of musicians aren’t content to just play in one band. (I’m in two right now, and always seem to have another project in the works.) And a lot of the best musicians in Memphis aren’t content to do the same thing every time they get on stage. There’s usually more than one side to most musicians. In a way then, Sex Cult shouldn’t surprise anyone, though at first glance, they might.
Take a frontman from a hardcore punk band (Chris Shaw of Vile Nation), a rhythm section from pop bands (Natalie Hoffman of Bake Sale/Nots on bass and Michael Peery of Magic Kids on drums) add J.B Horrell (of Noise Choir, Hedgecreep and others) and Alec McIntyre on guitar and you get a group that uses early punk as a jumping off point, but doesn’t stop there. Hardcore punk in stereotype is not much more than fast, hard pounding, screaming, high energy spew. Sex Cult, as you might guess from the elements included, have a bit more finesse than that. Yes, they’re very high energy, but there’s more depth to the grooves they put out than your average bludgeoning punk band. There’s a good sense of dynamics in the songs, and enough rhythmic changes from song to song to keep things from getting stagnant.
Chris Shaw’s vocal stylings and stage antics are as intense as you’d expect from a veteran of hardcore punk bands, and creates an interesting contrast to the sometimes spacy, sometimes jangly but always powerful music behind him. Too many so called punk bands seem to be more concerned with fashion and attitude than with creating interesting music. Thank goodness Sex Cult doesn’t feel this way.