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The Cuts | From Here On Out | review | rock | Lollipop
From Here On Out (Birdman)
by Brian Varney
The second Cuts album, 2 Over Ten, knocked me out when it showed up unbidden in my mailbox back in 2003. Finding an album you really like in a pile of discs by a bunch of artists you've never heard of and will probably never hear of again is a rare treat, and unfortunately, one that almost never happens. You tend to remember when it does, which is why I was so anxiously awaiting the release of a new Cuts album.
From Here On Out is the third Cuts full-length album and it's the best. While I truly enjoyed the woodsy American rock feel of 2 Over Ten, I was both expecting and hoping for a different direction on the follow-up, and I was definitely not disappointed. From Here On Out finds a band moving into the '70s portion of what is doubtless a impressive record collection. In tribute to that decade's impressive sprawl, this album finds the band covering an unusually large variety of sounds. Opener "Stop Asking" wouldn't sound out of place alongside "Heavy Metal Kids" on Todd Rundgren's Todd LP, while the guitar squeals and keyboard whooshes of "I'm Not Down" put me in mind of Eno-era Roxy Music. Just three tracks later, the stately soft-rock grace of "Lemonade" provides a brief, beautiful respite, the sort of thing I remember my mom playing on 8-tracks when I was a tyke.
In most cases, genre-hopping records are a bit of a bad idea. When a band resorts to doing "one of these" and "one of those," it means one of two things, both of them bad: Either the band is having trouble writing songs, or they feel they've got something to prove. However, it works in the band's favor in this instance, with tracks feeling as if they're taken from three or four distinct albums, all of 'em good. This also makes me feel as if the band has more to say, which means I have another record to anticipate.