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The Cuts 

From Here on Out (Birdman)

For six years and three albums, this crew from Oakland, California has been crafting fine, keyboard-flecked pop-rock records. Theirs is the type of band that hovers in obscurity while frustrated fans of classic pop-rock -- too lazy to do a little digging -- bitch that "there aren't any good classic pop-rock bands anymore."

The Cuts' main singer-guitarist, Andy Jordan, has recently been venting his frustrations to great effect through Time Flys, a wise-ass punk side project. And perhaps some rifts are forming within the Cuts, as From Here On Out veers between Jordan's Who-meets-Real-Kids rave-ups and keyboardist-singer Dan Aa's D.I.Y.-style ELO loopiness.

Tracks like the groovy stomp "I'm Not Down" or the frantic "Out Here in Space" contrast with early '70s Beach Boys toying ("She's In Love") or other Lovey-doveyness ("Next to Nothing"). Such daisy-field romping can border on camp at times ("Lemonade," "One Last Hurrah"), but each lad dabbles in the preferences of the other, as all the tunes get goofy and gruff pretty equally. What connects all the influence-spotting shadows and sprightly sunspots is the fairly sparse production and a scruffy energy that keeps the Cuts planted firmly in garage land.

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More by Eric Davidson

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