We should clear something up: In September, I wrote a review of Cult Fluorescent’s latest LP, I Had No Patience: No Patience, only somehow I missed the second “no patience.” On something like this, that small omission felt important: the context of the album, itself an abstract combination of minimalist sounds and nuanced emotional exploration, seems slightly different now, but it was too late to reexamine.
So when I caught up with the man behind Cult Fluorescent, Brad DeMatteo, on the phone last week, ahead of his show at Great Scott on Monday, I had to ask: Did my analysis still hold any water?
“I thought it was very well written,” says DeMatteo, soft-spoken and polite. “I don’t know if I’m the biggest fan of my music a lot of the time. I don’t know exactly what the best thing to say about it is. As far as being challenging, I don’t know if you are alone on that.”
Admittedly, No Patience probably won’t rack up download records, but the album’s aesthetic can be intoxicating at times: elegant dream pop stripped down to its bare bass, vocals and drum machine essentials, as if Youth Lagoon grew up someplace cold. The 24-year-old North Shore native’s style was further refined during his time as a music student at Bennington College in Vermont.
“I think now it’s more of a culmination of things that I’ve learned,” says DeMatteo, who also plays in the New Hampshire-based band Soft Eyes. “When I was in school, I did a lot of free jazz and improvisation, and also studied a lot of contemporary classical music and did a lot of composing that way. I also became really interested in minimalism as well as Southeast Asian music. I take all that into account when I’m writing music, as well as whatever is kind of piquing my interest at the moment.”
Upon graduation, he moved back to Massachusetts and began recording solo as Cult Fluorescent, releasing several singles on Bandcamp. The tracks—mostly a bass guitar line and simple rhythm pattern providing the basic structure—leave ample room for DeMatteo to elaborate lyrically, but even some of No Patience’s more visceral imagery (“Winter In Bliztenberg,” “Us”) is intended as a seamless element of the whole composition.
“I kind of write lyrics based on how I want them to feel coming out of my mouth,” admits DeMatteo. “I think about it more melodically and phonetically than content-wise.”
The only disappointment is that DeMatteo won’t be local for much longer: He’s set to move to Athens, Georgia (“The music there has always kind of allured me,” he says), in January. With a little patience, little patience, hopefully we’ll hear from him soon, or from someone else talking about him, at least.
“As far as self-promotion goes, I’m just pretty bad at it,” he says. “I just do this because it’s what I do and I guess maybe it’s selfish in a way but I kind of expect all that other stuff to come on its own if it’s any good.”
CULT FLUORESCENT W/ SPEED TRIALS + ADVENTURES OF UNLUCKY TURTLE. GREAT SCOTT, 1222 COMM AVE., ALLSTON. MON 11.17. 9PM/$10/18+. CULTFLUORESCENT.BANDCAMP.COM