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Holy Barbarians
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock


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All Artists: Holy Barbarians
Title: Cream
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 1
Label: Warner Bros / Wea
Release Date: 5/14/1996
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 093624622321

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CD Reviews

Something different.
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 04/28/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"In 1995, Ian Astbury, apparently fed up with the internal struggles of the Cult, left the band, resurfacing later with a new act and a new songwriting partner in guitarist Patrick Sugg. The Holy Barbarians, as the band was called, toured with Astbury fiercely avoiding any Cult songs called for by the audience ("that's a different band, mate" were his exact words in Hartford). The band also yielded one album, "Cream", before Astbury canned the project.

Musically, the Holy Barbarians seems to be a lot less muscular than the Cult, drawing as much from '60s pop and psychedelia as the goth and hard rock influences of the Cult. One unfortunate side effect is that without the presence of guitarist Billy Duffy, like Astbury's band before the Cult, this one feels lopsided with Astbury's personality so far over the top. The album seems to excel at its best when it embraces a quieter, hushed sound, in particular standout track "Opium". Filled with gypsy styled acoustic guitar and an impassioned vocal from Astbury that sings of pain, loss and almost torment, the piece stands up alongside anything in Astbury's repetoire. Likewise, title track "Cream" and "Magick Christian" both excel in this sort of puffy, Faces/flower power fusion of sound.

When the band tries to develop more of an edge, it generally is less inspiring-- several tracks are at best unmemorable ("Dolly Bird") or at worst totally lifeless post-punk ("Space Junkie", "Blind"). The exception to this is opener "Brother Fights", which alternates between melodic choruses and fierce verses, somehow the mix works out. But Sugg is no Duffy and when the intensity picks up, he falls by the wayside.

While "Cream" may be a curiosity, it is certainly an intriguing album, if nothing else as an opportunity to see what Astbury would do with a band when he could hide from his legacy."