Rock and country, punk and folk. These are some of the contrasting musical styles that come to mind while listening to “Kelsey Grammer Loves Us,” the first full-length album from the San Francisco-based Cult of Sue Todd.
Many bands can easily be pigeonholed into a pre-destined genre, but not Cult of Sue Todd. CST boasts an eclectic style that at first seems odd, but strangely makes you want to keep listening.
Part of the band’s eclectic style may be due to the wide range of instruments incorporated into it’s music. Instruments listed on the album besides the standard guitar, bass and drums, include banjo, French horn, bells, organ, piano, trumpet, mandolin and ‘spoon-on-plastic.’
The songs themselves are witty, funny and surprisingly insightful lyrics. Many serious topics are covered throughout the songs, from birth to death, to fear. The songs remain enjoyable, however, due to CST’s comic approach.
“ExBoyfriends of the World (Unite and Take Over)” is the first song on “Kelsey Grammer Loves Us.” The song speaks of an ex-girlfriend moving away and her boyfriend realizing he was tricked after seeing her on the street. The megaphone effect on the “get, get, get her” sounded like singer Steven Perry was standing atop a soapbox yelling “get, get, get her” at the world, or perhaps other ex-boyfriends.
“Chatterbox,” the second song, is very upbeat, with a garage band quality that dares the listener not to jump up and down. However, the first words of the song are “I’ve been told I’ve got a year or so.” CST seems to have a way of separating the music from the lyrics. It really makes you pay attention to what is being said. Perry’s personalized vocals help his voice jump out of the record.
“Ohio 2” can’t seem to decide what kind of song it wants to be, but forces us to listen. It starts off sounding like a punk song, before a right turn into folk territory. The chorus has two men singing together in a more country/folk style. These two buddies sing of “getting back to Ohio, gotta get back to the friends I know.”
“50cent” is one of the more soul-searching songs. This banjo-heavy track has fast lyrics; it’s almost hard to keep up. The song talks of being scared, and with pleasant imagery like, “I wipe the vomit from your mouth and you wipe it from mine.”
CST is a very interesting band, which seems to be as crazy as it’s music. It’s not clear who Sue Todd is, but the band Web site claims that Sue Todd wrote all of the songs that it plays. The band believes she is dead now. But, one day, the band will publish all of her poems, stories, and rants she left them, as well as some photos.
Until that day comes, “Kelsey Grammar Loves Us” will remain a welcome change of pace to my CD collection.