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Leggy Mambo

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Album Review

Recruiting XTC member Dave Gregory to handle production on much of the album, Cud made a much more consistently successful effort on Leggy Mambo, honing their blend of styles into a thoroughly charming romp. Throwing everything from Situationist slogans to intentionally sleazy late-night chat into their mix, the four seem dedicated to the prospect that humor, thrills, and a plain ol' good time can easily coexist without being mindless about the matter. Which they're not — and when you consider the vast empty nothing most '90s bands dedicated to "good times" like the Spin Doctors and Hootie & the Blowfish created, it makes Cud's efforts all the more appreciable. Motown rave-ups, funk-inspired grooves that avoid sounding anything like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and pop hooks all happily blend together, with William Potter and Steve Goodwin showing a great control over what they do. Mike Dunphy, meanwhile, gets even more creative on this album, his guitar playing and keyboards both setting the moods well, while Carl Puttnam somehow finds himself as the best descendant of Tom Jones around, able to project with skill, dripping with charisma and never missing a step. At once conversational, smart and, when the need arises, smoothly silly, he'd be a find no matter what band he was fronting. Cuts like the pummeling "Not Exactly D.L.E.R.C." show the band taking the quicker, rushed side of its past and turning it into even more memorable fun, while the calmer arrangements of songs like "Love in a Hollow Tree" demonstrate a growing ability to try out more unexpected approaches. "Magic" became the album's best-known track, a seriously groovy number that was seen as a parody of then-rampant Madchester sounds but if anything is an amiable cousin to the freaked work of the New Fast Automatic Daffodils. [Cherry Red's 2008 reissue included six bonus tracks.]

Leggy Mambo, Cud
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