CUD - Leggy Mambo (Imaginary)
Allow me to let you into a secret. Cud ore actually not pathetic of all. The band have done their damnedest to conceal this fact - choosing one of the world's silliest group names, and calling their records things like "Only A Prawn in Whitby" before packaging them in some the cheapest and nastiest artwork imaginable.
Yet once you get past the aesthetic atrocity of a sleeve that clothes "Leggy Mambo" you hear Carl Puttnam belting out instantly likeable, radio-friendly dance-pop stompers. Puttnam's the owner of an exceptionally fine sturdy, muscular voice, and here he spends on unusual amount of time singing things that will make sense to people beyond Cud's immediate circle of friends. Like James before them, Cud have discovered sex in a big way - "Magic" has Carl crooning, "It's magic when you find your dreams/Go back and bust all of your trouser seams", and "Love Mandarin" is another sensuous slow-burner. Not that they've gone totally straightfaced on us. There's plenty of Cud's customary deadpan whimsy on "Leggy Mambo" - they respond to Aerosmith with a slightly surreal fantasy called "Love In A Hollow Tree", and end the LP with a confession of grey-matter malfunction called "Brain On A Slow Train". They still come up with the world's most perverse song fides - a poignant number about loneliness gets christened "Carl's 1 15th Coach Trip Nightmare", and a rocking little ditty almost worthy of Shaky himself is landed with the somewhat cumbersome hookline "Not Exactly D.L.E.R.C."
But this is nevertheless a fine, intelligent pop record, one that really should be heard beyond the student ghettoes of Britain. "Leggy Mambo" contains Cud's most danceable music yet - and that's saying something. For their live shows have always been pretty damn boisterous. One shudders in anticipation of the moshpit madness that will ensue when the springy, supple likes of "Hey! Boots!" blast our from a stage. The album's opener, "Now!", may be heavily tongue-in-cheek in its call to arms - but after this admirable album, now really should be the hour for Cud to moo on up.