Other Asquarius Reviews

  • NME
  • Q Magazine

More Press Appeal

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Cud - 'Asquarius'

It can't be easy being Cud. They're lumbered with a stupid name, singer Carl Puttnam not only looks like the tubby lad who was bullied at school but gives grumpy, career-stalling interviews on Radio One and even in indie circles, where once The Primitives and now Carter or anyone who used to be in Spacemen 3 get away with all sorts of nonsense, Cud are ostracised solely on fashion grounds.

Then, just when they're charting with the jaunty Rich And Strange (I'm fat but I know where it's at), the record company decides to give away free Cud sunglasses with the 12-inch. Oh dear.

Although hardly anyone noticed at the time, 1990's accomplished Leggy Mambo was the first indication that Cud might actually have something going for them.

Asquarius confirms and builds upon the promise. The two ingredients are there for the big crossover-tunes and bucks. The production, by The Mekons Jon Langford, is basic but careful enough to ease Cud out of their once soupy indie stodge towards a distinctly palatable and thrusting pop rock.

If Douglas Hurd took the probably unwelcome decision to embark upon a singing career, leading his indie band to Buckley's Tivoli and Bath's Moles, he'd sound like Carl Puttnam. The voice in question is a throaty, quivering concoction which doesn't mess about with crooning but smothers the slow and rather lovely Once Again in plaintive worry (I'm always wondering if you love me still) before it begins to resemble As Tears Go By. Sometimes Right funks along like Talking Heads, Pink Flamingo carries cheeky echoes of Pretty Flamingo, Easy makes a taut case for Mike Dunphy's nimble, melodic guitar work and Beyond Hair is as good as its title.

Lyrically, it's as if Puttnam lost his virginity last night (hot as coals we writhe) and is dying to tell anyone and everyone about it. Thus there are many love lights dawning, highest mountains to be climbed and shivers running down spines. He certainly sounds incredibly worked up about it all and that carries Cud home.

Only when they embark upon the vague blues of Possession (with its Isabel Adjani namecheck) and Soul Food do Cud trip over themselves and slip back into the meandering stodge which alienated potential admirers in the first place - youngish ex-art students from Leeds with lucrative record contracts obviously wouldn't know the blues if John Lee Hooker woke up this morning next to them.

In the main, though, there are some dizzyingly catchy melodies, a few surprises like the underlying twang of Through The Roof, and surely the best of Cud is yet to come.

4/5

John Aizlewood