The Cuts' self-titled first album was originally released as a limited-edition LP on a tiny label. Birdman unearths it here and while it is no patch on, and not very much like the album that followed it, 2003's excellent 2 Over Ten, it is worth a listen to fans of noisy, exciting guitar rock that draws on '60s garage and psych. There is none of the rampant-'70s influence at all here; the band is totally in the grip of the garage rock ethos as fuzz guitars, stabbing organ fills and snotty vocals are prominent. "Upside Down" sounds like the Chocolate Watchband as filtered through the Stooges; "Salt in My Wounds" like the Monkees as played by the actual Monkees instead of the studio cats; "Anne Always" a bit like the Stones if they were only semi-competent and didn't like the blues very much. In fact, the record sounds like it could have been released during the '80s garage revival. If it had it would be legendary today. Well, as legendary as any of the albums from that time. Today it stands up well next to the Greenhornes or any of the other modern-day revivalists. In a sign of things to come, the best track on the album, "Don't Look Behind the Mirror," turns down the fuzz and gets just a bit funky in a Velvets' fashion. It has a strutting energy that the rest of the faster, louder tracks bulldoze right over. "Say My Name" is also close to what the band became, as the vocals are more Tom Verlaine that Sean Bonniwell and the guitars are more angular and less garagey. So don't go looking too hard for a record that sounds like the Cuts but if you like tough and weird garage rock with a bit of post-punk flair, this record should suit you just fine.
The Cuts Review
by Tim Sendra