The desert does strange things to people, and, judging from the tunes on Music to Start a Cult to, it's worked its strange magic on Jesika von Rabbit and her sandblasted warren of musical compatriots. If Calexico is what happens when you knock back tequila with a mariachi band, Gram Rabbit is what happens when you take a hit of ecstasy with a Vegas folk singer (if there is, in fact, any such thing as a Vegas folk singer). Part sparse melancholy, part pensive drama, part space-rock and part disco, there's a whole mess of weird crap happening during this disc's 47 minutes, and, without the group's peculiar personality, none of it would make sense. Yet throughout the disc it's all held together quite well, culminating in the expansive closing track, "New Energy." Though the finale is one of only a couple of songs not sung by Jesika von Rabbit (who, contrary to such a stupid name, is by no means a shticky vocalist), it perfectly embodies all the disparate elements of Cult: shimmering guitars, echo-drenched vocals, soaring open-chord refrains and a hint of wistful desert yearning. It's a strangely perfect ending to a perfectly strange record.
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