From the ashes of Brownie Points - Central Florida's long-defunct and last great ska band - comes Bloomington Cutters, a new punk rock and roll project self-described as "three brothers making loud music in a basement."
Indeed, "loud" is one way to categorize the Cutters' debut LP, Humming Status, Singing Quo. Though the opening track ("Prelude To Port Huron") hints at a mellow experience, this notion is soon ripped to shreds by "Violence, Schmiolence" and the follow-up track, "Hey Turkey." The former builds to an anthemic crescendo with first vocalist Joel screaming, "It will end in violence and everyone will hurt." The latter finds second vocalist Josh shouting the tongue-in-cheek chorus, "Hey turkey, wanna go swimming? The world is on fire, don't be a chicken."
These lyrics go a long way toward describing Bloomington Cutters better than any colorful musical adjectives I can employ. The bottom line is this band is funny. And it's this irreverent humorthat makes them so fun and unique. They employ simplistic - but memorable - song structures to make sure their raucous lyrics take center stage. It's a fantastic formula, exemplified in tracks like: "The Problem That Has No Name (Barnacle)," ("I'm part of the whole / a barnacle on the cock of a whale / I'm so fucking old...") "Siamese Nightmare," ("Omar! Visit us in jail / we never go halfway / when it comes to being assholes...") and "Good, Clean, Introspective Fun" ("If assholes were crop circles / we'd hold PhD's in ufology...").
Though the band keeps things musically uncluttered for the sake of their lyrics, there's still a lot here to enjoy. The Cutters have a youthful jangle to their sound, an almost a garage rock vibe. But the certainty that they're playing punk rock - albeit a more subdued, mid-tempo breed - is never lost in the mix. There's nothing boring on Humming Status, not one track to gloss over. The songs are driving, the melodies are infectious, and the vocals don't fall prey to overproduction - sounding satisfyingly raw and at the same time melodious. But it's the choruses that really shine - they're huge: big, belted sing-a-longs that demand you pump your fist and scream the words.
Bloomington Cutters closest musical kin would probably be PUP, though that's not to say they're a knock off. Both bands cover some of the same territory, but have enough differences so that it's only a passing comparison. I would also liken the Cutters to the late, great Summer Vacation (a less frenetic version), or even Crybaby - only with better songs.
Though the Cutters function as a bit of passion project for members Jim, Joel, and Josh, they've put together something lasting and great with their self-produced, self-released debut LP. Humming Status, Singing Quo is worth far beyond the measly $7 the band is charging to download it (over at bloomingtoncutters.bandcamp.com). And despite each member now residing in different cities and states, I can't imagine live shows are far behind such a strong release.