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FASHION CRISIS HITS SHEFFIELD

CUD / FRANK & WALTERS, Hallam University, Sheffield

Melody Maker April 17, 1993

Such is the magic of a Frank and Walters acoustic set that it tansports me from this dingy university hall - diet coke in one hand, rucksack in the other - to a friendly Irish pub, with log fire crackling adn guiness flowing.

Drummer Ashley isn't here tonight, so it's left to brothers Niall and Paul to sing and strum their little hearts out.

Up until now, I had lumped The Frank and Walters in with the rest of the dul and irritating "kid" bands (Carter, Neds, Kingmaker etc). Pull the plug on them however, take away the thumpity-thumpand electric barrage, and the melodies come shining through.

Also, Paul's - how should we phrase it? - unique voice, when set against this backdrop, no longer grates like a monkey's squeal, but becomes endearing and cute. Their cover of "Turning Japanese" is pure perverse genius - they even manage that twiddly bit at the beginning. the crowd love it. They sing along to every song, drowning out Paul, surpassing themselves during "After All", which is only the simplest of love songs. But, then again, I always have believed that simplicity equals beauty.

Tonight, The Frank and Walters remind me of that geeky boy who would sit at the back of the class while everyone took the piss, then you meet him 10 years later, and you feel so embarrassed and you wonder why you ever joined in the bullying, because he's turned into - and always has been, really - something shining and gorgeous.

Whereas the franks are best stripped bare, Cud are definitely supreme when they're firing on all cylinders. Carl is resplendent in a leopard-skin suit, and he's giving his all. The man is a god. various boys are looking perplexed and worried as their girlfriends are reduced to weak-kneed, teary-eyed hysteria. This titanic being shimmies uncontrollably around the stage, his voice booming and filling the auditorium.

I almost lost faith in Cud after their last album, "Asquarius", it somehow didn't have the same... oomph as the previous three, but, live, there's no room for doubt. "Strange Kind Of Love" pumps, and it's so funky and danceable. Despite myself, I am now prancing and sooning along with the rest of them.

Cud are SEX! They ooze the stuff. Carl Puttnam has more glamour and swagger in his all-leopard-skin-hugged frame than Brett Anderson could manage in a lifetime's lip-curling.

Cud are sexy because they don't stand around trying to look cool by not enjoying themselves, because they bring a lusty vitality to their music and stage personae.

They belt out "Eau Water" and it's f***ing awesome; a powerful, bouncing shag anthem. Everyone is dancing - and only a dismal prude wouldn't enjoy this.

Cud make me happy, and sometimes that's all you need.

Sarah Kestle