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July 13, 2024

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The Cuffs
Bottoms Up (Radical Records)

By: Alex Steininger

A three-piece street oi! punk band from South Jersey, with only two years behind them The Cuffs have come together quickly to emerge as a promising oi! band with a lot of spirit. Grab a beer and start chugging while the raw, aggressive sounds of The Cuffs get you going.

Sticking with the "play and say it fast" mentality of punk, "Getting Smashed" is a minute long burst of thick, accented guitar, staggering bass, and constantly ringing drums. The vocals spit out the words with a nice punk growl to them, singing in that now stereotypical oi! tone. A bunch of 'Woo's' help make it a song to drink too, while the overall aggressive nature of the song will find you throwing your body around in a sweaty pit.

Switching to a four-minute number, "John L. Sullivan (Bare Knuckle Fighter)" shows the band softening a bit. Don't worry though, because the song is still very aggressive, they just slow it down a bit to allow you to drink and sing along without missing a note. The guitar is still brutal, the bass still keeps kicking your ass, and the drums never let up, so throw your body into the song and watch as you start to spin around in excitement.

Starting off with a few heavily distorted chords from the national anthem, "Red, White and Blue" is a minute and nineteen second instrumental. As much as the song still packs a punch, without the vocals and 'woo's' to help enforce it, the song seems like a piece of a puzzle that's lost.

Not to fear though, because "When The Sun Goes Down" brings back the heavy, rough-natured vocals that help mold each song into the piece of work they are. About as bouncy as any of their songs will ever get, the infectious nature and backing vocals will drag you into the music to sing along. Heavy and full of aggression, the slow pace of the song makes sure you'll have room to hop aboard and shout out the words. A very fun song, the band knows how to concoct music that will have you happily drinking while moving your body with the music.

"Punks Not Dread" is a very humorous number that had me rolling on the floor laughing hysterically, but the sad fact of the matter is that the topic at hand is a true one. "I'm gonna tear up the flag/And wear on my shirt/And then I'm gonna do a little more/rolling in the dirt/I'm gonna bitch about the system/And how it's treated me/Then I'll go vegan/And preach anarchy," clearly takes a stab at the kids who've bought into the trend of what punk rock is. Separating themselves from the fakes, while making an example out of them, they get you laughing while establishing themselves as the real thing.

Finishing off with an action-packed minute of punk fury, "Worth Waiting For" gives you one more change to chug down your brew while listening to some solid punk rock.

On their debut full-length, The Cuffs prove to be a rock solid band. Ripping through any thoughts otherwise with a very fast guitar, these seventeen tracks (equaling nearly forty minutes) will have your heart pumping and feet stomping. I'll give it a B+.

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