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Album Review

In the two years since their debut album, The Same Old Blood Rush with a New Touch, Cute Is What We Aim For have had time to take stock of their strengths and weaknesses, capitalizing on the former and improving upon or discarding the latter as necessary. There's some evidence on Rotation that the group has actually employed such introspection — if only for a few minutes — but hasn't learned much from the experience. The most noticeable change on Cute Is What We Aim For's sophomore album is a slick, slightly more mature sound that employs more than the standard bass-guitar-drums-vocals lineup. A horn section shows up a number of times, synthesizers add depth, and producer John Feldmann smoothes out any potential rough edges with a healthy dose of studio gloss. The lyrics could use a little work, though. Shaant Hacikyan's words are on the ineffective side, as in the ostensibly empowering "Do What You Do," which for all its bluster delivers nothing outside generic encouragement and a bland, "be yourself!" sentiment; there's "Navigate Me," a song that was probably conceptualized as a passionate romp through the sheets but instead comes off as a bit creepy. (There's something about the repeated line "These sheets aren't stopping me" that doesn't inspire thoughts of romance.) There's also the bizarre "Hollywood," which pays homage to an apparent fantasyland where the West Coast film hub was without scandal, conflict, superficiality, or strife. (It was also a time "when singers wrote songs instead of hooks," begging the question as to why Cute Is What We Aim For didn't try this themselves.) It's an earnest effort, like all of the songs on Rotation, but those with even a basic knowledge of Hollywood history won't be able to resist rolling their eyes. Rotation is a shiny but ultimately fluff.


Formed: January, 2005 in Buffalo, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The emo-pop outfit Cute Is What We Aim For emerged from Buffalo, NY, in January 2005. Although originally formed as a quintet, the band ultimately stripped down to four members, with vocalist Shaant Hacikyan, guitarist/pianist Jeff Czum, drummer Tom Falcone, and bassist/guitarist Fred Cimato comprising the lineup. Wasting little time, the bandmates recorded a handful demos that landed them on Fueled by Ramen's roster before the year's end. Cute Is What We Aim For then hooked up with producer Matt...
Full bio

Top Albums and Songs by Cute Is What We Aim For

Rotation, Cute Is What We Aim For
View in iTunes
  • 11,99 €
  • Genres: Alternative, Music, Indie Rock, Punk
  • Released: 20 June 2008

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