Based in Inland Empire (that’s south California to us Brits), CVLTVRE are already making a serious impact in the region’s live music scene. Roll on their debut extended play All Life Is//Act I: An Act of Letting Go.
As opening gambits go, this EP is a stunning piece of work. The production on the record is superlative, with Jordan Moe’s bass and the two guitars a perfectly balanced delight to listen to.
Opening with “Blame”, CVLTVRE set out their stall with a strong post-hardcore influence, sounding to my ear like Jawbreaker, Title Fight, Basement, and occasionally Knapsack (though less poppy).
“Progression” is like dropping into a comforting duvet, only with the latent anxiety that one is in fact falling into an abyss of visceral emotion. Steven Thompson’s drumming punctuates the piece with precision and draws the listener deeper in with his impeccable timing.
The EP is at its strongest in “Birthday Song”. Ozzie Lizarraga’s lead guitar is developed (without being excessively verbose) and beautifully melodic. The lyrics show massive promise too and the rationalised abandonment of “A day late and a dollar short // your phonecall missed me by a week of fear” is a nascent moment of poetry.
I’m not generally a fan of the term, but with the band self-identifying as emo, they’re ready to own the word. Joe Yarbrough’s clean lead vocals are elegant, distinctive, and note-perfect, yet when they slip into something a little more raw on closing track “Pour These Words”, they’re heartfelt and correctly positioned in the song.
All Life Is//Act I: An Act of Letting Go is the primer of a four part series that will no doubt be a mosaic of emotion, distress, catharsis and self-expression through suffering. Here’s one reviewer already proud to call himself a CVLTVRE vulture. Not to be missed!
All Life Is//Act I: An Act of Letting Go is out on February 16th