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Thursday, April 17, 2008

(the) Cucumbers - s/t

Name: (the) Cucumbers
Album: s/t
Year: 1987
Style: Jangly College Radio Pop
Similar Bands: Bongos, Blake Babies, B-52's, REM, X
"One-Word" Review: "Late-80's-College-Rock-Bounce"
Based Out Of: Hoboken, NJ
Label: Profile Records
The Cucumbers - Cover
The Cucumbers - Back
The Cucumbers (1987)
  1. My Boyfriend 2:47
  2. Work Together 3:28
  3. Tiger 2:47
  4. I'll Do Anything 3:34
  5. Shower 3:53 /
  6. Don't Drop The Baby 2:34
  7. My Town 3:17
  8. Birds 3:13
  9. One Step Further 2:37
  10. Just Don't Tell Me What To Do 3:05
Album Rating (1-10):
7.0

Members & Other Bands:David Young - Producer & Engineer
Andy Kelly - Asst. Engineer
Zuni - Asst. Engineer
Mikey Campbell - Asst. Engineer
Miriam Ludbrook - Asst. Engineer
Deena Shoshkes - Vox, Guitar, Synthesizers
Jon Fried - Guitar, Vox, Piano
Yuergen Renner - Drum Set, Backing Vox
John Williams - Bass, Backing Vox, Cloud-Guitar
Howie Weinberg - Mastering
Janet Peer - Art Direction & Design
Chip Simons - Photography
Patrick Lucas - Hair & Makeup

Unknown-ness: I had never heard of the Cucumbers. The front makes them look like a soft alternative rock band, with the pastel color tinting, the bare feet & the cutsie dress, stockings & shoes. But as cheery proof of the band's image, there is life growing (cucumbers) in the desolate grounds on which the cover was photographed. And the back has a nice, pleasant photo of the band & the text is washed in pastel colors again. I'm thinking that they will be minimal, non-threatening college rock.

Album Review: The Cucumbers start the album off with “My Boyfriend.” It is a bubbly, bouncy lite pop song that feels like REM, the Bongos and other similar bands, but the singing is female fronted, with a Juliana Hatfield sense of melody. The bass is simple and catchy. The 80’s electronic synthesized sounds add a layer of datedness, but I keep wanting the song to break into the Romantic’s “Talking In Your Sleep.” Work Together” sounds like the B-52’s in the same period of their work. Where it starts out as a revolving, echoing song similar to “Roam,” it breaks free and applies another dose of bouncy bass, and simplistic drums. The jangely guitar does not really keep time with the music, and acts as a distraction from the rest of the melody until the energetic chorus. Tiger starts off fast with a very bouncy bass and quick drumming pace and a liquefied guitar loop. The singing is quick talk-rap style. It feels like a college radio band of the 80’s recorded their version of a pop-punk song. The song is fun, and full of driving energy, but it just lacks a hook, like a catchy chorus to make it a perfect song. “I’ll Do Anything” is another song lost in the pre-90’s alternative happy, bouncy pop sound. On this song, she sounds like Belinda Carlisle in her Go-Go’s era, especially in the chorus. There is a wasted, out of place rock guitar solo hook played over a cowbell, which does not really add much to the song. “Shower” is a bongo, easy, lazy island song. The female vocals are strong, yet lullaby-like for the verse. It is a very literal description of taking a shower together. It could come off sexier than it does lyrically, but I believe it tries to be sexy with what it has.

“Don’t Drop the Baby” starts side 2, feeling like a Talking Heads song mixed together with Escape Club’s “Wild Wild West.” It relies of 2 sections which repeat and reprise over and over again. “My Town,” about Hoboken, is a very pleasant, three chord changing song pitching the singer’s home town to other people. There are some very catchy and interesting melodic workings on this song, some are carnivalish, some are dark, but all together this is an interesting song as it continues to change through its melodies. “Birds” is next, starting with a bunch of noise, and then flowing into a whistling bird song accompanied by xylophone. Although the lyrics are a bit silly (the bird said die), the melody of the whistle and Xylophone is very unique and works very well. I do not know X very well, but what I do know about them, reminds me of this song. “One Step Further” is a fun punk-paced song, with a great guitar following the chorus. It features call and response vocals of “come-back” The quick paced is dulled by both the drums and a tambourine. Her vocals fell as if she is right up against the mic, singing loud and confidently in. The off tune piano is a fantastic addition to the soundscape of the song. This song is pulled off perfectly, ending in a urgent car alarm warning guitar. The album completes with “Just Don’t Tell Me What To Do.” It is a simple, light filler song, some what slow, but still very interesting. It is set up in a very simple song structure, and is perfectly predictable.

Stand-Out Track:One Step Further

Links:The Cucumbers - allmusic
The cucumbers - Myspace
The Cucumbers - webpage
Home Office Records - Cucumbers page
Cucumbers aol band page
2 Cucumber videos

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