Only Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion know the truth. But the two of them—who ended their romantic partnership sometime before the making of Cults' second album, 2013’s Static—certainly know how to turn a bad situation into captivating listening for their audience. The duo’s gorgeous Wall of Sound–style pop (part Phil Spector, part gothic Cure) resonates positively, while the perceived emotional devastation turns lyrics like “Should have took the high road/Now my days have all turned black” into the voice for every devastated ex-lover. Considering how well these two work together musically, it’s a wonder whether their pain is directed at each other or the idea of loss and failure. A final song like “No Hope,” wrapped as it is in thick reverb and multitracked vocal layers, comes across less like a cry for help than an artful, natural ending to a story with no winners. Follin’s deliberately stoic delivery either distances itself from the truth, provides a sense of ironic dissonance, or steels her frazzled nerves. In either case, “We’ve Got It” throws out a hook and an ebullient bounce worthy of happier times.

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