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July 22, 2024

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Cruel Timothy
Rules of Thumb for the Molested (Pandemonium Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Cruel Timothy is the musical alter-ego of David Mandel. Taking a psychedelic drive through many musical territories, Cruel Timothy arrives at his own sound by fusing rock, gothic beats, pop, psychedelic beats, acoustic ballards, and even adding in a wee bit of ska and industrial here and there. His music is also a tool to help the fight against child abuse and molestation. On the cover of the CD you will find David Mandel's head with the "Rules of Thumb for the Molested" written across his head. He then proceeds to give you the list, inscribing it on his skull.

The CD starts off with "I, the Wicked Child". The music slowly fades in, and then Cruel Timothy whispers "I am the Wicked Child. It's a wicked world". Right then a strong bass line kicks everything off. Combining aspects from the gothic world, and putting them together with pop hooks and a rock n' roll background, this song quickly hits you. The drum and bass play together perfectly, keeping everything in line. The vocals walk through the song, basically taking a talking approach to the music. During the chorus the vocals begin to sing, and you find yourself trying to sing along. The chorus hits you like a ton of bricks. It's very catchy and full of the pop hooks that always keep you coming back for more. "That Invincible You" is a soft pop-rock song. The vocals add a bit of an edge to the music, while the music is soft, purposely trying to grab at your mind and make you pay attention to the lyrics, so you too can feel the painful emotions that run through Cruel Timothy's head. "Give it Love" throws a more intense experience your way, as the music overpowers the vocals. The guitar is loud, sometimes quieting down a bit to add hooks, but generally loud enough to keep the vocals in the background. The drums hit hard, maintaining themselves high in the mix. "Girl from Moncton" starts it out very intimate, with just Cruel Timothy and his guitar. Soon a bass enters, but the general pace of the song still is personal and emotional. But then a spurt of noise jumps into the mix, ruining the song. "Swing to the Left" adds some upbeat on the guitar, adding an element of ska to the mix. The ska is high enough in the mix to make you dance. The sampling gets annoying, and the vocals have a slight distortion on them, giving them more of a whiny feeling to them. The song just seemed to be thrown together, taking a lot away from the song. "Skin", Cruel Timothy's single climbing all the college radio charts, mixes 70's rock with modern rock. The 70's guitar riffs are very distracting, taking away from the vocals, but the chorus is rock solid. The chorus is beautifully crafted, adding a lot to the music. Sing along with the chorus, it's totally infectious, and will grab ahold of you and put a smile on your face as you forget the rest of the song. "The Wisdom Cries" ends the CD with a nice touch. One of the finest tracks on the CD's, Cruel Timothy sits down with his acoustic guitar and gives us a peak inside his head. Without the noise and angst the other songs carry with them, this song is very personal and touching, as if Cruel Timothy was sharing a lot of himself with us.

Cruel Timothy can write memorable lyrics. But sometimes his own voice and words get lost inside a distracting pool of noises, and other times he shines through like the song. He's at his best acoustically, reaching deep down to give us a good glimpse of what runs through his mind daily. Too bad the majority of the CD is noise. But even in the times of noise, his pop chorus structure always keeps your attention, gets you singing along, and keeps you coming back for more. I would give the CD a B-.

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