All Things To You
The Cucumbers have been around for almost 20 years, but since All Things To You is only their sixth release, you can be excused for going “Who”? And unless you like your rock poppy and sugar sweet, it might be another 20 years before you hear of them again. There isn’t anything particularly “wrong” with this record – it’s well-produced (by Roger Moutenot, who twiddles the knobs for Yo La Tengo, among others) but there isn’t really anything compellingly “right” about it either. Sounding much like a tamer, more mannered version of The New Pornographers, or a more dissident Go-Go’s, the group’s sound revolves around the vocals of Deena Shoshkes, which isn’t necessarily a plus. She has an airy, poppy voice that tries to rough itself up with a bit of twang (a la Neko Case, for example) but never really strays far from its controlled cuteness. Perhaps it’s a matter of taste, but I just don’t get this record. It’s so smooth and well-tended that it leaves no rough edges for a listener to grab onto, although the song “Musicians I Know”, which is a recounting of the day jobs of various rockers, is a hoot. That just leaves 13 other tracks.