With post-hardcore, it can be very easy to stick to the tried and tested template. However, it’s certainly not a criticism that can be levelled at the genre-bending Cute Cute Death.
While the base sound is very much in the post-hardcore arena, there’s so much going on, especially towards the more chaotic, metal end of the spectrum, that it means ‘Vessels’ has a strong identity and sound that would be hard to confuse with anyone else. Take, for example, the ambitious ‘Pockets’ or ‘Red Lights’, which have flashes of death and black metal buried within, adding a strong dynamic to their sound.
But, sadly, this is also where ‘Vessels’ falls down. The use of such disparate sounds is so divisive, it’ll likely alienate as many people as it attracts. There’s no real ‘straight’ song on ‘Vessels’, and when they do pull back, the clean vocals retain a theatrical edge that’s ever so slightly distracting. They even mix things up with a somewhat ill-judged moody ballad that adds little and kills the image of Cute Cute Death as some guitar-wielding killing machine, such is the ferocity with which they attack the other songs.
They do occasionally get it right – the epic ‘Dimethyltryptamine’ might be a tongue-twister, but it has drums that fire like machine guns and enough peaks and troughs that it never feels like a descent on a relentless, never-ending rollercoaster. Well-paced and well-judged, it’s evidence of how potent Cute Cute Death could be. ‘Leave This City’, meanwhile, is a more than solid slab of Coheed-influenced Brit-rock.
One thing that’s in no doubt though is the musical chops Cute Cute Death display, however, and stylistically it’s refreshing to listen to a band that is clearly doing whatever it wants – even if it doesn’t quite hit the mark.
’Vessels’ by Cute Cute Death is out now.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)