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Melody Maker

CUD's place in the scheme of things has long been in contention. Their brilliantly absurd cover of "You Sexy Thing" was a fine start, but, in truth, that was all we really expected from them. Their self-penned singles disappointed, and a shot at distorting The Kinks' "Lola" was a misguided attempt at repeating the early "hit".

All the more surprising, then, that they've managed to come up with a very consistent album that establishes the band as a blurred pop group of merit. They've camped down between the Sixties beat music of The Move and The Turtles and modern art-pop, in particular the arms-aloft derangedness of Pere Ubu.

The sextet of songs that make up the "When In Rome, Kill Me" concept of side one are an express train ride through high-ocane wit-driven tunefulness. "Only (A Prawn In Whitby)" is quite possibly their best effort yet, and would make a great single. Carl Puttnam wailing "My heart is such a sight obscene" over a backing that is turbo-charged Smiths. "Bibi Couldn't See" is Fall-rockabilly meets Blue Orchids mind-pop.

Puttnam s lyrics shine brightly on side two. The cheekily titled "I've Had It With Blondes" sees him declaring, "I was a teenage stamp collector, I'd lie on my back and you'd stamp on my face," as the band explore the different textures of opaque Wildean eccentricity. In an ideal world, Puttnam would be shaking his thing to "Wobbly Jelly" on TOTP. A fine LP from Cud. Who'd have guessed if?

Dave Simpson