Cult Maze

Music seen at Geno’s + SPACE Gallery, April 4 + April 6, 2008
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  April 9, 2008

Early on in Cult Maze’s all-too-brief tenure as Portland’s best indie-rock band — probably when they were still called the Funeral — I offered to buy Joshua Loring, one of the band’s guitarists, a beer before his set. He (quite uncharacteristically) turned me down, saying something like, “Maybe after we play. These damned songs are too hard.”

If Loring and the band’s hazy-eyed but still blistering final performances this weekend are any evidence, Cult Maze got used to the rigor of their brisk tempo changes and intricate guitar interplay, going so far as to play a covers medley at their “secret” show at SPACE Gallery on Sunday (“All Along the Watchtower”/”Tears in Heaven”/”Hunger Strike”). Moreover, they grew more comfortable in their skin by the month; frontman Jay Lobley learned how to deliver an anthem with range and passion, and the band fused their two main virtues — indelible, anthemic guitar licks and appropriately labyrinthine instrumental passages — into the bold, cathartic formula that pervades their last album, 35, 36.

In the two years the band dominated my local concert-going and -suggesting schedule, I’ve never failed to describe them poorly, except as “Portland’s Wolf Parade.” So let me elaborate. Like the venerable Montreal indie band, Cult Maze’s foreboding synth lines (Peet Chamberlain), militant drumming (Andrew Barron), and often angular guitars worked in tandem with lyrics that were at once jaded and passionate. Accustomed to the state of things and still ready to rattle the bars or enjoy the scenery for a second, theirs was a zeitgeisty take on apathy somewhere between Bruce Springsteen and Joy Division's Ian Curtis. It’ll be missed.

While you're blubbering in your bedroom, Miller Lite in hand, get excited about these side projects, because Cult Maze are about to divide and conquer: Metal Feathers | www.myspace.com/metalfeathers | An Evening With | www.myspace.com/aneveningwith | Brenda | www.myspace.com/brendabandband

  Topics: Live Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Pop and Rock Music,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY CHRISTOPHER GRAY
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   GIRLS (AND BOYS) ON FILM  |  July 11, 2014
    The Maine International Film Festival, now in its 17th year in Waterville, remains one of the region’s more ambitious cultural institutions, less bound by a singular ambition than a desire to convey the breadth and depth of cinema’s past and present. (This, and a healthy dose of music and human-interest documentaries.) On that account, MIFF ’14 is an impressive achievement, offering area filmgoers its best program in years. With so much to survey, let’s make haste with the recommendations. (Particularly emphatic suggestions are marked in bold print.)  
  •   AMERICAN VALUES  |  June 11, 2014
    The Immigrant  seamlessly folds elements of New York history and the American promise into a story about the varieties of captivity and loyalty.
  •   CHARACTER IS POLITICAL  |  April 10, 2014
    Kelly Reichardt, one of the most admired and resourceful voices in American independent cinema, appears at the Portland Museum of Art Friday night to participate in a weekend-long retrospective of her three most recent films.
  •   LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX  |  April 09, 2014
    Throughout its two volumes and four hours of explicit sexuality, masochism, philosophical debate, and self-analysis, Nymphomaniac remains the steadfast vision of a director talking to himself, and assuming you’ll be interested enough in him to listen and pay close attention.
  •   ASHES AND DIORAMAS  |  March 28, 2014
    History, rather than ennui, is the incursion that motivates this, his most antic and most somber work.

 See all articles by: CHRISTOPHER GRAY