Watch out because Seattle’s fun-lovin’ retro-punks, The Cute Lepers, are contagious. Like Glasgow’s spiky punkettes, The Hedrons, these garageland delinquents have made a pretty good stab at claiming the spirit of ‘77 as their own. Can’t Stand Modern Music is a debut album packed with high-octane blasts of jagged guitar, frenetic drumming and snap-and-snarl lyrics replete with harmonious female backing.
While influences abound from the judicious referencing of the Clash’s “Safe European Home” on catchy opener “Terminal Boredom” to the edgy bass-driven songcraft of early Elvis Costello (“Prove It”), and the ‘60s inspired pop-punk energy of the Rezillos (“It’s Summertime Baby”, “Nervous Habits”), this never becomes just another game of spot-the-tune. Formed last year by Steve E. Nix (get it) and bassist Steve Kicks during an extended break from their day job playing with similar outfit The Briefs, The Cute Lepers might be an interim side project or something more permanent. Let’s hope it’s the latter because this is exactly the type of hook-laden short, sharp shock modern music needs at the moment—a warning shot across the bows to all wannabe stadium rockers.