Cute Is What We Aim For

The Same Old Blood Rush with a New Touch

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Somewhere in the vast realms of the music world, there is an elusive line that separates intelligent self-awareness and simply trying too hard to be clever. So where does the emo-pop of Cute Is What We Aim For fit in? If by some chance the band's moniker and album title didn't tip you off right away, their songs leave nothing to doubt that it's the second half of that sentence. The Same Old Blood Rush with a New Touch, the debut from the Buffalo-based quartet, is basically a vapid product of the MySpace generation where hip self-assurance is often the only prerequisite for a record deal and a devoted fan base. After all, in the capable hands of producer Matt Squire (Northstar, Panic! at the Disco), bands like CIWWAF can be assured a polished album with catchy hooks and sweet melodies -- regardless if they actually have anything substantial to say through the glossy shine. The whole album just seems so contrived and pointless that any sporadic moment of disposable hooky bliss is quickly overshadowed by annoying wordplay. But the most exasperating aspect (aside from the overuse of the word "gents") is whether the band merely enjoys attempting cheeky doses of sarcasm or truly finds itself charming with lines like "I've got the gift of one liners/And you've got the curse of curves/And with this gift I compose words...are you perspiring from the irony or sweatin' to these lyrics?" CIWWAF might think it's fun to string along sentiments that often poke at their own existence and superficiality ("I spend more time in front of mirrors than any gent should/Because let's face it/One on one is more fun anyway"), but it quickly gets tiresome. Unfortunately, though, sharp scenester insight seems to be the point in the first place. Essentially, this album is about the musical equivalent of an ironic trucker hat: even if it catches on with the masses for a time, that doesn't make it right.

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