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Cud, Elvis Belt (Imaginary)

Melody Maker, 30 June 1990

CUD have been making our lives that little bit more liveable for the past three years or so. "Elvis Belt," a collection of their singles, shows why.

"Treat Me Bad", recorded two years ago, features all the Cud trademarks with strangulated vocals acting as the perfect top layer for the syncopated rumble that goes on below. The song's speed shifts without any notice, as different sounds enter the fray like uninvited guests. Their big hit, "Hey!Wire" (it got to number 104) is the most recent and most commercial offering. If sticks out because of the more comfortable style and less aggressive vocals from Carl Puttman, which is an improvement. Sometimes you could swear it's a cover of The Monkees "She".

The definite covers are "Lola" and "Urban Spaceman". Like their "Bohemian Rhapsody" contribution to the "Alvin Lives" anti-poll tax LP, the songs are tampered with and turned into something new. The most amusing mutation here is "Urban Spaceman. which is transformed into o thrash/punk holler played at break-neck speed.

While Cud look like a reasonably friendly bunch, their music is harsh, jagged and often full of spite. They have a considerable talent for making loud things sound soft, and vice versa, "I've Had It With Blondes" is a perfect example, little guitar riffs fly all over in a desperate bid to be heard while the drummer tries to sneak in as many beats as possible.

This collection shows an inventive formula being perfected and is worth hearing just for that. Cud's tendency to shift gears mid-song could find them being hailed as the indie Genesis, which is not too far from the truth. Tighten your Elvis belt and loosen your mind.