Nothing really gets under people’s nails quite like lying. Pretending to be from a place that you are not, simply because it sounds cooler, should be a stoning offense. The first band I propose to test this theory out would be The Cuts. Posing, dressing and acting as though they are an east coast/ Detroit punk influenced band, the reality is that they are from southern California. You can’t find out much more about them, as their official site is DOA. It’s not quite the great rock’n’roll swindle, but my guess is that they were hoping no one would notice. Bobby Harlow from the Go (who are probably only known outside of Detroit because Jack White was in the band) was employed to write a strange little story on the back of the CD, likely to get you to think that they are, indeed, the real deal. Too bad the music isn’t as thought out as the propaganda.
The Cuts like the Stones...a lot. I’m all for digging the Rolling Stones. Seventies Stones, in particular, are often overlooked. Sadly, The Cuts sound like they are aiming for Mick an’ Keef, but, in the process of missing the mark, hit Meat Loaf fronting Sweet square in the head instead. After the initial shock wears off, the standard blues progressions start leaning in hard. You’re not going to hear any guitar heroics or innovative drumming on this record; it’s slick, but trying to be sloppy. I thought that went out with the Moldy Peaches, whose studio “wizardry” was once referred to by Pat McHugh of Grubstake as “genuine crap.” I guess not.
There’s a lot of vocal “hiccupping,” making almost all of the tracks sound like the singer is getting ready for some really intense Buddy Holly karaoke competition. Chances are better that this affectation is supposed to evoke Television, but even Tom Verlaine (note the misspelling of his name on the label’s web site) stopped doing those “Friction” herky-jerky vocal gymnastics a long, long time ago. That wasn’t Verlaine aping someone, kids; that is really how the man sings. You know something else? Most people only dig retreads on their tires.
You want to be true rockers? You have to do a lot more than have your label declare that you’ve “made a genuine rock’n’roll record.” You have to mean it. Pretending to be in the band that as a kid you always fantasized about joining, and then going so far as to “play” at being where you’re from will only guarantee you an ass-kicking. If that’s going to be your fate, then at least do something original. [Birdman]
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