All You Got by Cuffed Up album review by Greg Walker for Northern Transmissions. The trio's LP is now available via Hit The North Records


All You Got

Cuffed Up

Think of the epic male-female fronted bands, like B-52s and the Pixies, and you get a sense for what you can expect from LA’s indie punk band, Cuffed Up, and their latest album All You Got out on Hit The North Records this Friday. There is a sense for the anthemic, like the B-52s, along with the signature voices of Ralph Torrefranca and Christina Apostolopoulos, and a sort of hip-hop styling at times. There’s the heart moving harmonies and add-ons of Christina, like Kim Deal does so well, as well as the Joey Santiago-worthy guitars of Ralph.

It is an album that is at times unabashedly positive and at times bitingly critical, singing to their fellow artists in songs like “Hello, Dear Passion,” where they address the soul crushing behavior of turning art into numbers and passion into figures. There are songs about lecherous millionaires (“Small Fry”), songs about pathetic internet trolls (“Mock Dance”), but also songs urging their fellow humans to love and beneficial activity (“Love Is…” and the title track, “All You Got”).

As an East Coast kid, they would be right at home in the rock-centric scene of a city like DC. It feels homegrown, larger than life without being self-aware. There are songs that come at you straight up the middle, with adventurous guitars and astute poetry. And then there are songs, like “Love Is…”, that incorporate a bit more pop into their sound, something that works exceedingly well for their male-female sound.

The B-52s and Pixies were so successful because of their sense for melody and counter melody, their out-of-the-box musical composition, and their clever wordsmithing, all of which Cuffed Up display in spades on their latest album. “Post-punk” and “shoegaze” are two other tags that they use on their Bandcamp page, and while it is mostly vocal-centric music, the musical arrangements, filled out by bassist Vic Ordonez, is just as satisfying, with a close listen.

It’s not always that something new that you hear can be described as “refreshing,” but Cuffed Up are so authentic, so unapologetic, so original, in a time where everyone is trying to copycat some other great artist or genre. It’s a good album, and sounds like they have big aspirations to grow into as well, so that they will probably just get better from here. Their fans were wondering what direction the band would take, after losing a member, struggling with the pandemic, and industry roadblocks. If this is “all they got,” it’s an impressive showing. And they’re out there, inspiring others to do the same.

Order All You Got by Cuffed Up HERE


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