Before a respectfully dirgeful version of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows,” Cults guitarist Brian Oblivion remarked that it was only the second time the group was playing the song during its “short but seemingly long life as a band.” With hyperspeed hype cycles and a constant feeding frenzy for new talent, it’s common for bands and listeners to experience rapid-onset fatigue these days. But the not-even-two-year-old New York duo seems to have found a foolproof way to combat this restlessness — with songs that are undeniably catchy and hypnotic.
When Cults first emerged in 2010, it was cloaked in an air of mystery — three songs, two members, one vaguely spooky name, no other details. Less than two years later the mystique has disappeared, but a standout pop band has emerged. During the first of two sold-out shows at the Black Cat on Saturday night, Cults — expanded to a five-piece in a live setting — delivered one nifty earworm after another from its self-titled 2011 debut album. The band’s formula is a carefully considered combination of ’60s girl group shimmy and ’80s new wave bounce with singer Madeline Follin’s voice providing a unifying and defining element. It’s charmingly squeaky and lets her hit high notes in a casual manner.