Cambridge’s CUFFS might hail from Massachusetts, but their sweet melodies and charming lyrics align them more with the British Belle and Sebastian than Boston’s Aerosmith. The indie-pop perfection heard on their just released self-titled demo might make some fans recall the recently deceased Pants Yell!, which makes perfect sense 2/3rds of CUFFS’ delightful quartet are from Pants Yell!. CUFFS‘ share a similarity with the latter in both groups’ penchant for strong vocal melodies, crisp instrumentals, and witty lyrics that are stylishly executed.
Privilege serves as a perfect introductory song to the group’s sensibility. Its starts off with a slightly uptempo beat from a strong guitar riff that traces the song throughout and accompanied by a steady backing beat. The lyrics prove to be the focal point though due to hypnotizing vocals that sweetly harmonize about past mistakes and “better plans”. Albert Kroft recalls the tight musical methods of the 1960′s thanks to CUFFS’ solid execution on both the vocal and instrumental melodies. The guitar plays a more central role, getting a great lick in mid-song with some help from the crashing cymbals . The lyrics follow the vein of Privilege in the theme of “poor little rich girl”, even dropping in a reference to E.M. Forster’s Room With A View (which was actually pretty awesome and somehow amazingly not pretentious).
You Can Come… is the group’s most upbeat song with its inclusion of some snappy hand clapping mid-song and a quick, smart guitar hook that serves nicely as a closing note. Given how layered CUFFS are in both lyrics and melodies its quite surprising to discover most of their songs fall under the three-minute mark, but that swiftness is part of their popish charm. Although CUFFS just formed, hopefully they will be able to produce a 7-inch sooner rather than later, because the world could use some more of their pitch-perfect charm.
By: Stephanie Glass