CUD 'When In Rome, Kill Me' (Imaginary Records ILLUSION 005)

Sounds June 17 1989

3.5/5

FRIENDS, ROMANS and Cudrymen, it's time for a mediocre pun and a young, Leeds-based band;s first valian effort in the field of... ROCK OPERA!

But despite a fondness for rock posturing 'When In Rome' eschews traditional rock opera tactics and tends more to the flow of non sequitirs featured in The Fall's Hey! Luciani.

The opera constitutes the first side of the album, and rattles out a series of events which more from Morrissey laying into a king prawn in a Whitby Chinese restaraunt, through some teen love action, to the closing parody of Chandler-esque private dick-speak. Cheeky ol' Cud. Clear as mud.

Less contentious is the second side of this debut album which features six no-nonsense pop songs strung out between a variation on The Fall's anorexic Tesco-beat sound and a battered vision of '60s acid pop.

Carl Puttnam's sel-effacing lyrical style has a pleasant understated wit and there are some beezer tunes lurking beneath this impoverished production. Top marks go to 'Vocally Speaking' and the closing 'Epicurean's Answer'.

Combining equal parts Peel-compatible amateur aesthetic and the late '80s rock parody vein, Cud always give the impression that this is a hobby vrather than soul-on-the-line commitment.

This is probably a wise stance overall, but there are moments here when Cud are strong enough to stand free of any self-mocking, in-jokey crutches.

Roy Wilkinson