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Album reviews 

The Cult's Choice of Weapon, El-P's Cancer for Cure and William Beckett's Walk the Talk EP

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The Cult

Choice of Weapon

(Cooking Vinyl)

3 Stars

Although (amazingly) this is the Cult's first album to feature the same recording lineup as its predecessor, Weapon eschews the abrasive hard rock approach of 2007's Born Into This and instead splits the difference between Sonic Temple-sized anthems and the space-blues of Masters of Reality (whose Chris Goss co-produced this outing). Ian Astbury's voice has been completely destroyed by the years, but that grizzle is oddly complementary to the slightly shambolic, rough-and-ready rock & roll here. – Jason Ferguson

El-P

Cancer for Cure

(Fat Possum)

4 Stars

EL-P grabs acclaim from the indie rock world, and members of Interpol and Islands guest on solo album No. 3. But at heart, the rapper-producer's music is a product of hip-hop nerditry, so horn-stabs associated with golden-era hip-hop anthems mingle with coy nods to Slick Rick and De La Soul lyrics (plus a song titled after Gang Starr affiliate Big Shug's “The Jig Is Up”). It's the sound of a hip-hop blitzkrieg that rocks in the correct sense of the word. – Phillip Mlynar

William Beckett

Walk the Talk EP

(Yike)

3 Stars

Six months after the Academy Is … closed shop, frontman William Beckett returns with the first of three planned EPs, its four songs resurrecting the bold pop brush strokes of his old band. The production's big, but so are the hooks – like the Cars if they went full-on Phil Spector. Beckett's writing is similarly punchy, particularly “Girl, You Shoulda Been a Drummer,” a slinky pop paean that cleverly references Saxon. Lead single “Compromising Me” bites electro-soul/pop but comes off tinny and skin-deep, like bad Phil Collins. – Chris Parker

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