As a fan of CIWWAF’s debut album, “The Same Old Blood Rush…”, I was anticipating another summer-sounding sing-along CD from the New York boys. While there are some hints of the old sound of Cute on here, their second album Rotation provides a whole new depth to their sound. Lead singer Shaant Hacikyan’s vocal range is much stronger, and the entire album is pulled by heavier guitar and drum parts. It’s a lot more musical than the first, with a new focus on the different instrumental balances and mixes. Shaant’s witty lyrics are still found in every song.
The CD starts of with “Practice Makes Perfect,” their first single and a song that will have you hooked on the CD within the first 10 seconds. The chorus is incredibly catchy and the lyrics are typical Cute: something you would never think could make sense, but instead they work really, really well.
Before you know it, “Practice” is over and “Doctor” comes on. This song has a big Blink-182 feel in the chorus followed by a semi-screamed ending. This high-energy song will have you at least bobbing your head, if not dancing in your chair.
“Navigate Me” starts off with a mellow beat, but right when the lyrics kick in you know the boys are back to their old habits. The song’s chorus is catchy, reminiscent of their old work, and extremely suggestive.
Also similar to “The Same Old Blood Rush…” are the next two tracks: “Loser” and “Do What You Do.” “Loser’s” got that catchy “cheer up” feel, and Do What You Do has a pretty catchy chorus about being faken. Both songs seem like the type that people can try and relate to without being too cliché. These two songs don’t exactly blend with the new feel of the CD, but then you’re immediately dragged into “Hollywood.”
“Hollywood” seems like something pretty new for the guys in Cute, but it really works for them. This track definitely stands out on the CD with it’s horn driven beats, guitar solo, and Shaant’s speedy singing towards the end. “Safe Ride” follows it with the same heavy guitar and bass feel, pulling you through the slower, yet just as interesting, ballad.
“The Lock Down Denial” picks up the pace again and has a screamed phrase of “Lights out Lock Down.” Another new technique for CIWWAF, but they seem to be pulling it off really well. “Marriage To Millions” is another song similar to “The Same Old Blood Rush” work, just jam packed with guitar and drums.
“Miss Sobriety” is really catchy and kind of gives you a feel of the changes Cute went through over the past year. Instead of swearing “liquor doesn’t exist in [his] world,” “Newport Living” style, Shaant instead is showing his new interest in drinking and the like.
“Time” is a good closer to Rotation, reminding me of “Lyrical Lies” and incorporating lyrics from their debut album (“I always thought that your left was your strongest side”) just to catch your attention. After a CD packed with a mix of new and old material and tons of things you wouldn’t expect from Cute Is What We Aim For, Time is the perfect way to close the track list.
Originally I was skeptical about Rotation, but after listening to it and becoming hooked I realized that the boys in CIWWAF have put a lot of work and dedication into making this album a lot different than their first. By dropping the whiney singing and adding new bass player Dave Mellilo, Cute Is What We Aim For achieved a whole new sound. Even if you didn’t like them before, definitely give them a shot now. This CD has the capability to change someone’s opinion about Cute Is What We Aim For.
4 out of 5 [KD]