Band Spotlight: Cuffs
Band Spotlight: Cuffs
By Seth Tippey
Pants Yell! no longer exists, but Andrew Churchman has a new group with a sweetly familiar sound, thanks in no small part to his recognizably emotive voice and knack for lovely songwriting. He brings along another member of Pants Yell! — whose name, oddly, remains undisclosed — in addition to a member each from Reports and Big Troubles. In a bit of cleverness not lost on this writer, Cuffs have released a 3 track demo for free on their bandcamp website titled “4-track demos.”
The instrumentation is sonically more aggressive than what Pants Yell! tended to utilize, and it’s a shift that Churchman’s voice has no problem adjusting to. Electric guitars blare with more force, and the drums seem to pack a bit more punch than his previous project, yet his voice remains the cornerstone in each song. The first track, “Privilege,” contains the lyrical sharpness common in Churchman’s songwriting: “Still I looked back / shook their hands / held your arm / to help you stand / this time / I’ll dream up / better plans.” His timing when singing the words “this time” underscores the fallible nature of language with understated acceptance. “This time,” refers to both helping her up – with an emphasis on this being either unusual or perhaps being the last time – and that he’ll have something better to offer this time.
The second track, “Albert Kroft,” bleeds the furthest into new territory, utilizing a heavy guitar melody to drive the song. The same sort of storytelling that acted as the focal point for many Pants Yell! songs returns, but gone is the innocence, replaced by facing reality. It’s a great song that showcases Churchman’s ability to craft a spectrum of works. The last track, “You Can Come True,” is the most reminiscent of Pants Yell! material, with an upbeat guitar hook and lines that harken back to the heartfelt yearning for understanding: “Found out the hardest way / it’s what they do, not what they say / sometimes I don’t get through / it’s what I say, not what I do.”
The short demo is definitely enticing. Fans of Pants Yell! will be overjoyed to hear Churchman’s return, and the divergent styles will surely bring new fans into the fold. The full demo can be downloaded for free here: http://cuffs.bandcamp.com/