Cute Is What We Aim For


Written by: TL on 29/07/2008 14:18:52

It serves to say that Cute Is What We Aim For isn\'t a band I\'ve been counting on for a long time. When their debut album \"The Same Old Blood Rush With A New Touch\" turned their low key acoustic songs into sugarcoated mainstream monstrosity (okay, overstatement maybe) and they totally neglected playing off their strengths when I saw them at their Give It A Name performance last year, I pretty much wrote them off as a bullshit band.

Their new album \"Rotation\", does not exactly see them return to the style that initially made me interested. It does however, see them take the faster, louder and more rockin\' style they were playing at that day in London, and deliver it properly on record. Effectively they now sound more like a rock band than immature emokids with acoustic guitars and it actually suits them quite well. Album opener \"Practice Makes Perfect\" opens predictably with a chorus of the kind you\'ll remember to your dying day, which isn\'t even as impressive as the following \"Doctor\" that sports heavier parts than we\'ve ever heard from the band, especially in the end. Not to say that Cute now sound like Disturbed, they\'re still softer than 88% of all bands out there, the point is that now they at least have real electric guitar riffs.

From here on out, Cute manages to consistently deliver infectious choruses in up tempo tracks throughout the album, effectively overtaking most of the shazillion bands in the market that sound like them, given the fact that there seems to be little to no filler in these eleven (bonus not counted) tracks. The change in sound may distance them from earlier comparisons to Mae and Dashboard Confessional and position them closer to bands like The All-American Rejects and Boys Like Girls, but seeing as there seems to be next to no bullshit attitude or overly dumbed down aimed-at-preteens content, who can be bothered to keep track? The intros to \"Loser\" and \"Do What You Do\" take notes from Green Day and The Who, while maintaining the core Cute-sound so it never sounds like they\'re aping someone. A brass section adds character and atmosphere to \"Hollywood\", a very ambitious song which, while reminding me of The Higher, displays that the band is capable of writing \"songs instead of hooks\", and departs from the otherwise common theme of girls. At six songs in, this may be the best song yet, but the noteworthy part is that I haven\'t been bored yet - maybe these guys should give lessons to The Audition and Kids In Glass Houses?

Those who know the formula these kinds of albums tend to follow will know that now is the time for an anthemic ballad, and \"Safe Ride\" fits the bill perfectly, both in style and in not being particularly interesting, despite the thickness of the guitar riffs. Thankfully, after this failed attempt at a \"Sugar We\'re Going Down\", the tempo picks back up, however, \"The Lock Down Denial\" doesn\'t really manage to re-establish the momentum. \"Marriage To Millions\" fares a bit better, but it isn\'t until \"Miss Sobriety\" springs out of anonymity with a strong finish where things get properly back on track. Unfortunately, the album ends with a ballad as well, and with the risk of sounding like PP, \"Time\" really does seem to be the least interesting track on the album. If the \"Bonus Track\" is part of the retail version, I honestly can\'t be bothered to find out, because at 42 seconds, who really cares?

Summing up the album, Cute Is What We Aim For manage to put themselves back on my map, with seven tracks out of eleven being more than half way decent. Though the album is mainstream and straightforward and consequently might not get you overly excited, there are few flaws on it, and it\'s for certain that, just as the songs on its predecessor, those on \"Rotation\" are going to haunt your mind for years to come. The difference is that you won\'t be as embarrassed to put them on. It\'s a pleasure to hear that this band actually seems to want to rock out, and for them to improve on their next album, I think it\'s simply a matter of implementing more of the wilder elements present here, without losing the trademark subtlety and sweetness of course. For now though, like I\'ve said already, this is an improvement for sure.


Download: Hollywood, Do What You Do, Loser
For The Fans Of: Boys Like Girls, The Higher, The All-American Rejects

Release date 07.07.2008
Fueled By Ramen

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