Album Reviews

The Cutler – Cutler

(Steel Tiger) UK release date: 7 July 2008

They may not be a going concern at the moment, but Fila Brazilia’s Steve Cobby and Dave McSherry are clearly still on good terms as the search for the perfect beat continues.

OK, so it’s not a search that either conducts with great intensity, and it’s not as if they’re in competition with each other. They retain the Fila characteristics though, prolific writers of good melodies, lightly quirky beats and carefree samples and vocals.

Cobby here has teamed up with fellow Humbersider Pork to form The Cutler, and their debut album exhibits all that made Fila such a lovable pair. A sense of humour, an enjoyable slackness about the groove, and a couple of vocal guests that inject a crucial bit of variety.

For sure, this is an album to be enjoyed horizontally, but rewards closer inspection. The brief interjections from the strings in Cinquedea, the sweetly sung Stiletto, for which we can thank Sarah John, and the woozy string sample that winds in and out of focus on Hacksaw – all bring understated pleasure.

Occasionally the feeling is that the duo overstretch themselves in an attempt to bring more variety to the mix. Cleaver begins like a Timbaland production, as if suddenly it’s trying to inject a bit of urban grit – and doesn’t fully succeed. Epee, meanwhile, can’t quite decide whether to opt for a slow, dubby beat or whether to speed up – a bit of a musical conundrum that goes on rather too long.

But in the scheme of things it’s not a huge hindrance. The breezy approach The Cutler take to their music reflects well in a record that’s a subtle delight, funky and airy for moments where you don’t care much about anything.

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The Cutler – Cutler