Rocket from the Crypt

Cut Carefully and Play Loud

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One of the band's best packaged releases, Cut Carefully gets its title from the fact that this limited edition EP had a sticker placed over the plain cover and, through its center hole, onto the vinyl itself. In order to actually play it, the sticker needs to be trimmed to free up the EP. Thankfully, the extra effort is more than worthwhile -- a snapshot of the band in between RFTC and Group Sounds, Cut Carefully contains five songs, finding the group merrily rebounding from their Interscope stint. Kicking in with the choppy guitar intro of "If the Bird Can Fly," Reis sounds just that less smooth -- in a good way, like he doesn't have to worry about pleasing a radio programmer. The recording quality is sharp, almost live in feel, and the band match that just as needed. JC and Apollo 9's horns step to the fore throughout, often sounding light and playful instead of blasting; a nice contrast. Rampaging rockers like "Blood Robots" rub up against slightly calmer -- but only just -- fun jumpers like "Who Let the Snakes In?," with a great garage rock organ line. "Waste It" has attitude to burn, sneering with the best of them musically and vocally, with a killer ending to boot as the brass adds just enough sleaze to the chaos.

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