Cub – Come Out Come Out

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist (part 2)

Cub is one of those bands that brings me as close to pure joy as I can get. Lisa Marr is an underappreciated songwriter, and her ability to craft shiny melodies and write complex lyrics amazes me no matter how many times I listen to her work. She went on to form Buck and then the Lisa Marr Experiment, and eventually moved on to filmmaking.

What I Think of This Album

Cub fully embraces the cuddlecore tag on their studio debut (the term is splashed across the inner sleeve), while simultaneously sounding much more professional and mature. The relative sleekness is simply a reflection of the steep learning curve – guitarist Robynn Iwata in particular shows a lot of growth (she lays down some impressive noise on “Life of Crime”) – and the band’s adoption a more consistently tough, punk-influenced sound (Lisa Marr’s bass presence is significantly greater this time around). But if the genre description and the sound seem at odds, then the problem perhaps is with your understanding of what cuddlecore means.

Smashing misconceptions, Marr writes lyrics infused with darkness – drowning, graves, blood, rot, bullet holes, and, uh, a crocodile attack. It’s all there. Notably, Cub starts to get sexy on this album, too. In addition to noting “you fuck me on the floor” on “Tomorrow Go Away,” the band sings of a girl crush:  “I saw you wiggle like a snake / Hey girl, make no mistake / I like it / Yes, I do” (on pounding first track “Ticket to Spain”). And delightfully fizzy “Your Bed” tosses off the witty, pajama-focused, movie-referencing, gender-swapping, sexually confused lyric “I wanna go / Never stop / I wear the bottoms but you’re the tops / Pillow fights, pillow talk / You be Doris, I’ll be Rock.” As on the Betti-Cola compilation, the songs range from thick, elastic rockers like “Flaming Red Bobsled” to charming dittys to silliness such as Ishtar-referencing “Isabelle.”

The highlights include jangly “Everything’s Geometry” (with a nicely subtle organ part by Lorraine Finch of Hello(Again)), which employs some questionable math, but everything else is perfect about this wondrous song of imperfect love (with a little bass solo!). Is there a better song about being young and in love in New York than “New York City”? No. There absolutely is not. They Might Be Giants covered this with some lyrical modifications. The already-discussed “Your Bed” is undeniably a classic. Also, “So Far Apart” is lovely, with guest guitar from Kevin Rose.

The covers are likewise nicely done. The spiky version of “Vacation” lets the vulnerability of the lyrics come through in a way that the Go-Go’s original chooses not to. And the elevation of Yoko Ono’s supremely tuneful  “I’m Your Angel” seems like a deliberate attempt to rehabilitate the image of a woman unfairly maligned by so many. A hidden track contains a house remix (I guess?) of Betti-Cola track “Go Fish.” This is Cub’s best album. 

The copious thank yous in the liner notes mention Beat Happening, Lois, Scott McCaughey, the Muffs, Ian MacKaye, Rancid, Sloan, the Softies, Yo La Tengo, and Zuzu’s Petals.

The Best Thing About This Album

There is so much good stuff here. “Your Bed” is irresistibly sweet.

Release Date

January, 1995

The Cover Art

I don’t hate this, but I don’t love it. The dominant purple color is cool. The cartoon is by Canadian artist Linda Smyth.

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