Artist: The Cute Lepers
Title: Smart Accessories
Label: 1-2-3-4 Go! Records
Release date: January 2010
Vinyl color: There's a couple of colors on the market already and, considering that the first Cute Lepers album is now on glow in the dark vinyl (!), there will probably be several more instances of manufactured scarcity.
Though most fans had already heard five of the 13 tracks long before this one dropped, Smart Accessories is a nice follow-up to The Cute Lepers' near-flawless debut LP.
The title track builds on the band's established powerpop sound by going outside of the box and adding horns. I can't read the man's mind, but I'm willing to assume this winning sound is what Lars Frederiksen was going for when he was inadvertently watering down The Heart Attacks. That's probably comparing apples and oranges since The Heart Attacks were definitely more "power" than "pop", but hearing horns in a punk song that's not wacky, annoying ska always reminds me of the most disappointing songs on Hellbound and Heartless.
Another daring move on part of Steve E. Nix and his bandmates was both recording a song that clocks in at over four minutes in "You Don't Have To Belong To The Religious Right" and releasing that song instead of an easier to digest pop nugget like "Thanks For Not Showing Up" as a single. Steve had a definite political motive when he wrote this one, but that's okay because he's gotten political before with The Briefs. Besides, they can't all be about sun, fun, and girls.
The ones that are about sun, fun, and girls and borrow from the classic sounds of The Buzzcocks, Undertones, and even The Cars won't surprise you, but you are more likely to sing along to them than a four minute diatribe against politically-active Christian sects. These powerpop nuggets include "Fall to Pieces", "Bob Forrest Song", and "No Escape".
This is another strong release that will remind you of some of the stuff you liked as a teenager, so pick up a copy during your next therapeutic record shopping session.