The Cuts - 2 Over Ten - 2003 MP3/Flac

The Cuts' second album sounds a little like a late-1970s New York or Boston new wave effort that managed to escape the radar (though the group are in fact from Oakland, CA, and 2 Over Ten was done 25 years or so after the late 1970s). Andy Jordan's clipped, faintly hysterical lead vocals will spark unavoidable comparisons to Tom Verlaine, and less so to David Byrne and Jonathan Richman. The band, too, have their similarities to vintage Television in particular, with the watery keyboard sound also dragging in the Talking Heads and the Modern Lovers as reference points (though the group's far more in the Television camp than the Talking Heads one). There's a modest, affable looseness that leaves the impression that they might have come off as more gentle souls than they intended. Non-new wave influences are felt strongly at times: in some late-'60s-styled harmony, and guitars both power popping and jangly, as well as some of the boozy blues-rock-pop feel of early-'70s (vintage) Rolling Stones in tracks like "Electric Rite." The rub is that with all these hallowed acts serving as reference points, the group sound kind of derivative, but at least they're derivative of less-cliched sources than many other early 21st century bands indebted to retro heroes. -AMG

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