Every music scene includes those notorious for stirring up trouble whether they mean to or not. The bands everyone loves to hate, even if they secretly admire their music, hiding them under false names on iPods to avoid faux pars. The pop-punk scene is quite known for having these kinds of bands. Bands who just can't put a foot right, but keep slugging along anyway, and hopefully one day they will be recognized by the community as respectable. Cute Is What We Aim For fit in this catagory quite well. Having paved their way to sucess with a nice $500,000 check from their parents and a quick signing to arguably the major player in independent pop-punk today, Fueled By Ramen, without even releasing an EP, it was bound to happen. Yet this is another band who made their mark on Myspace, letting their friends do the talking while they slipped by. So when it was announced in 2006 that their debut would be released, it is no surprise that little people cared. After all, the pop-punk scene strives on ignoring those who the trendsetters like Absolute Punk and The Scout dismiss. Everyone, say hello to 2006's most hated band; Cute Is What We Aim For.
That name, along with the album title, Same Old Blood Rush With A New Touch
, should give you some idea as to what you'll expect upon hearing this CD. Those one-liner lyrics which people perceive as witty, yet they aren't. Topcs such as drinking, whores and drugs are all sung so beautifully to sound romantic and perfect to the teenage market. Auto-tuned vocals and over-mixed instruments so that it hides the bands true sound. Yeah, that's right here. But if you look past all that, it's actually a fun CD to listen to. Opener "Newport Living" could have been ripped straight from a Placebo with pounding drums, a simple yet fast guitar riff and high-pitched vocals. It does mix up quite a bit though, with much slower palm-mute sections and a chorus with a hint of darkness. Imagine The Academy Is... if they had listened to AFI's Sing The Sorrow
. It's a weird mixture of the dark and bright sides of pop-punk, but they do sound oh-so appealing on this record. The same happy-go-lucky sound carries throughout the album as well, with songs like "Finger Twist & Split" combining a generic-yet-interesting hybrid of slow acoustic and clean, electric sound, while "Risque" only slows down more with picked chords and a very Get Up Kids style sound ringing out.
The middle of the album gets a bit boring by now, however. "The Fourth Drink Instinct" gets so slow it's just dragged out too long at 4 minutes. The music could've been placed on a Jimmy Eat World album and be praised by all, but here in the middle of this album it just sets the tone for how the rest will play out. As well as this, songs about underage drinking (I predict angry letters from parents if they ever read the lyrics) is too cliche for a band as young as this to write. It only picks up ever so slightly afterwards, with "Sweet Talk 101" providing another glance at how original this band can be. From the lyrics, it appears this band are in love with themselves, but to their credit, this song is much faster than the last few. The album ends on a slightly higher note, with the song "Lyrical Lies" providing a nice acoustic melody with some of this band's best lyricary. This might not be a challenge, but it's one of the highlights of the album in my opinion, and although the actual music is very easy going and basic, it fits their style well. "Moan" disappoints yet again with more bad lyrics, which his actually the only bad point of this song I can think of. The music is quite upbeat and quick, and easy to tap along to. This is pretty redundant since it's placed between 2 acoustic songs, which virtually kills any energy it creates. Finally, "Teasing to Please (Left Side, Strong Side)" is another showcase of this band's slower side. Again combining clean guitars and acoustic, leading into the full band playing in electric and getting gradually louder. It's not a bad song I suppose, and one of the band's better-known songs which they have. But still, the drumming is piss-poor and this is the best song to notice those auto-tuned vocals.
I was really disappointed with this CD when I heard it. I didn't want to believe all the talk about the band before listening to this, and when I first put it on I thought this would be an excellent record filled with upbeat bursts of melodic pop-punk, fun lyrics that I can sing along to without sounding like I molest teenage girls at concerts, and a great strucure of both slow and fast songs. Oh, how things pan out. Where it begins so effortlessly and fun to listen to, it quickly dies down into one boring clean song after another. Add to this the random placement of each track, which kills any mood you get set from the song you are listening to, and this album is just a huge mess. It does however have it's highlights, and shows some sign of promise for this band. The opening few tracks are all brilliant and fun to listen to with one steady-paced song after another, and the 2 final acoustic tracks (OK, one of them isn't technically all acoustic) are the band's high point when it comes to slower melodic stuff. But otherwise, you are better off just sticking to the songs on their online profiles and live shows.
"There's A Class For This"
"Finger Twist & Split"
[url]http://www.purevolume.com/cuteiswhatweaimfor[/url] (Tracks from review: "Sweet Talk 101", "There's A Class For This"