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Cud, Brighton Pavilion

Page 34 New Musical Express. 12 Februrary 1994

They've already kissed goodbye to celebrity by (in ascending order of naffness) covering Hot Chocolate songs, wearing deafening shirts and being the preferred pop combo of celebrated Reeves & Mortimer creation Graham Lister; so you might reasonably have supposed that Cud have now run out of ways to offend persons of restricted humour.

And you would be howlingly wrong. Not only will Carl Puttnam shortly lurch onto our TV screens waving a rubber chicken in a Tango commercial (probably) but their intro tape on this tour is an excerpt from 'Fanfare For The Common Man'. Oh lord.

Strangely however, after the preposteroous introduction and obligatory heckles ("you are an obese man of dubious parentage," in mumspeak) what emerges in their place is something totally unexpected. It's respect. Really. People now respect Cud. Cud!

But most of all, they simply love them: for injecting run-of-the-mill, streak-of-piss indie-pop with glamour, swagger and laughs; for giving us a frontman who bought the clothers that Jarvis Cocker took to Oxfam; and - best of all - for continually dispensing three-minute bursts of meaningless and mindless mad pop and calling them things like "Robinson Crusoe" and "Purple Love Balloon".

In this respect new material like "Neurotica" could never disappoint. Yes, it means nothing; and yes, it will do precious little to convert a pallid generation of near-comatose Blind Melon fans, but when Mick Dunphy can squeeze three guitar solos into his allotted three minutes without the word 'wanker' entering your head, you have no choice but to salute the power of the stylistic accident that lies at Cud's heart.

"Sticks And Stones" and frenzied encore "Ski Bum" develop the trick with pulverising choruses, nonsense omnibus lyrics and Puttnam hiding behind his Elton John shades in a virtually effortless pastiche of slapstick rock. But would you win friends by telling anyone this? You would not.

Unfashionable to the last, uncool to a man and yet till wildly enjoyable long after closing time, Cud are a beered-up karaoke. A radical and thrilling rethink of what pop music should be about. But for your own sake, you might well decide to keep all this to yourself.

JOHN ROBINSON

Pic: John Cheves