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The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Cute Is What We Aim For

A review of their album 'The Same Old Blood Rush With a New Touch'

Cute Is What We Aim ForReview Snapshot:
A power-pop band with a desperate wish to be punk in a punkless, Avril Lavigne-filled world. Cute may be what they aim for, but infuriating is all they achieve, along with a sound obviously of taking Blink 182 too seriously. And that's not a compliment.

The Cluas Verdict: 2.5 out of 10.

Full Review:
This album in fact merits few compliments, even to the most generous reviewer. Opening with two lines of unaccompanied singing in a pre-emptive attempt (and failure) to raise the low-hanging bar of intelligence and sophistication, every song is filled with toneless rhythm guitar, predictable and uninteresting melody lines and harmonies

Listening to this album gives the distinct feeling of listening in on some American teenagers' thrashing in a garage, albeit teenagers with enough of what could be dubiously called talent to mangle their music by putting it through a mixing and producing process that utterly fails to add anything but a false varnish. Lyrics, progressions, melodies, harmonies, nearly everything is infected with a not-remotely-endearing adolescent false insight and shallowness, as if in deliberate confirmation of the American stereotype of teenage bands.

"I've got the gift of one liners?and with this gift I compose words?" (Curse of Curves); "I am safe, quaint and eloquent?" (Moan). Despite his own self-assurance, misplaced to the point of self-delusion, Shaant still lives in a world in which lyrical punnery, cheap metaphors and rhyme equates to clever song lyrics. Every track on this album can be held as a dully gleaming illustration of the very worst in songwriting: cringes abound as clich? are horrendously distorted, while buzz-phrases slink around as if ashamed to be involved. If you manage to swallow your initial horror, stay the finger hovering over the off button, and examine them a little deeper (not that they go very deep), it's hard to escape the fact that nearly each track seems to be an ode to teenage crushes and/or the perils of peer pressure. None of which makes for interesting listening.

Yet don't make the mistake of thinking that Cute is What We Aim For's lyrical shortcomings are their only failures. After 42 very long minutes all the tracks sound much the same, being as they are made of the same stuff: cheap hooks, a drive and rhythm so weak as to be nearly non-existent and of course remarkably unoriginally structured and handled music. I didn't much like this album, you see.

Anna Murray