Change often brings concern. If a man finds his way, his current friends are still going to gripe, “What happened to him?” Music fans tend to be less forgiving. Take The Morning Benders. Granted, their switch in sound didn't result in particularly inspiring tunes, but many simply balked at the very idea of POP ETC. To be sure, Cults have done nothing so radical on Offering, but the value to be found here will much depend on the listener’s ability to let go of the scrappy ruffians that felt so carefree and fun in 2011.

While 2013's Static saw them clinging to some of that energy, grumbles of diminishing returns had already reared their head. In the years since, Cults have clearly taken their deliberate, measured time. In this period, they seem to have sanded down any of the rough edges that would have been considered their character. Listening to the pristine, comfortable electro-pop of Offering, and glancing at its more than Spoon-like cover art, it's a bit hard to remember what made Cults feel different on their first album: but does this instantaneously have to be a bad thing?

In the place of any tomfoolery, singer Madeline Follin is more front-and-center than ever, and her expressive voice dominates the record without pause. These are all likely the smoothest, most assured set of songs the act have yet released. The playfulness is sure to be missed, but had this album arrived courtesy of nearly any longtime pop act, these songs would surely be readily embraced.

‘Good Religion’ jumps out with immediacy, its earworm chorus catching even the critical listener off guard, like much of the record. Many of these songs don't seem overly concerned with focus, content to simply offer a groove for a busy day. Hidden within the unassuming flow of the tracklist are sneaky gems, the sort that'll make you perk up without fully realizing it, and keep returning to seek out again.

All in all, Offering is well suited to its release date, the perfect contented collection of pop vibes to kick back with as the fall readily approaches. Whether listeners at large follow will mainly depend on their willingness to accept Cults in their current incarnation. But, if one accepts the mission statement, there's plenty of fun to be had here, even if it can't help not quite measuring up to past hype.