Frank Critelli "SONG OF THE WEEK" eric D
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All Things To You
© 2004 Verbena Music / Fictious Records

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The Cucumbers
All Things To You

Total Time: 48:30
Cost: $10.98 +s/h*

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STYLE: Raucous Rock-n-Roll

HOME TOWN: Millburn, NJ

Visit The Cucumbers  WEB SITE

& MySpace page.

1. Right Here Right Now
2. Whiskey
3. Bad Attitude
4. You Know It's All Right
5. Bend Me Like A Willow
6. Happiness
7. Musicians I Know
8. Fog
9. All Things To You
10. The Bridge Of Love
11. The Warm Sound Of Your Voice
12. Look Out You
13. Master Of My Emotions
14. Daylight

  The Cucumbers
Issue #65                              Aug. '04

All Things To You is just that.

Husband and wife team Deena Shoshkes and Jon Fried have delivered a CD that should attract and capture just about everyone who listens to it. It’s a romantic gift of music that serves as many purposes as possible.

Once in my life I tried to find someone like you
Who’d bring my dreams and my fantasies to life
the way that you do
Just when I’d given up on finding love
There you came
Like a moth to a flame
Lighting up my heart
Such a beautiful spark.

Those lyrics, from the opener, “Right Here Right Now,” invite us into a loose concept album which takes the beautiful love relationship that Deena and Jon have for each other, that is carried over into their love of the art of music, songwriting, and performing and spills over into the love relationship of a person who really digs the art form of rock-n-roll music, and hands it over as a true gesture of the heart.

Formed in 1983, The Cucumbers have released five indie LPs in twenty-one years. If anything, it shows an artistic stand point to the evolution of time. It has been five years since 1999’s Total Vegetility, of which I stated: “[The Cucumbers, who have] a penchant for playfully sticking out their collective tongues; Rock us with a delightful mixture of adult suburbanite tales as told through the bloodshot eyes of grown city teenagers who refuse to connect with the so-called demeanor, stability, and conformity that is labeled as socially acceptable in this day and age.”

Now, with All Things To You, Jon (guitar, vocals, keyboards, banjo, percussion) and Deena (guitar, vocals, percussion), along with Kurt Wrobel (bass, background vocals, whistling, percussion) and Steve Villano (drums, percussion), aren’t so much sticking out their tongues as they are spreading their arms and wrapping them around those of us who still have love to give and receive in all forms (All Things), regardless of the constraints in today’s society. This is an LP for the ages, all the ages.

While it’s tough to cover “All Things” in 14 compositions, The Cucumbers cut a wonderful swath through the past 20 years of contemporary rock and all it’s forms/genre’s/sub-genre’s by reaching back and shaking hands with the previous 20-25 years before that.

Starting off with the afore mentioned “Right Here, Right Now,” the CD continues with “Whiskey,” a romp that bounces to a definitive ‘80s sound while holding down a Shake, Rattle, and Roll era structure. Try not to sing along to this fun Bangles/B-52’s/Go-Go’s style party song: “Fueled by the whiskey / that holds the secret power / to unlock the cryptic message / yeah.

Then, with “Bad Attitude,” The Cucumbers give us a first hand look at what went wrong with rock at the time when the major music corporations cashed in on the bad attitudes of the artists, made the quick buck, and left the music industry in artistic ruin. It’s as complete a look of the corporate greed, sales, and destruction that sacrificed the soul of the art as you’ll find fighting atop one of the most amazing Garage Band muscle and power jams that just blow the doors in (Little Steven are you listening?). You want attitude?

Well, how about sex? “You Know It’s All Right” delivers. It’s a groov-a-licious Talking Heads jam that sets a pace of intense sexual healing. The bass line has your shoulders dipping from side to side and your head nodding to a musical beat that relays the body motion of a mating dance. With lyrics that point to the dance and the sex, it exposes itself for the sheer beauty and pinnacle of its existence.

What draws this CD close to the heart is how this musical valentine delivers on such levels as to take in the effect and exposure to the generations that have matured on rebellion and matured with love that comes from the artistic representations of that rebellion, in this case the full classic modern rock of ages. How else could The Cucumbers successfully take us from a garage jam, to a funk jam, to a contemporary country jam? Yes, “Bend Me Like A Willow,” is perhaps the greatest song that Patsy Cline never got a chance to record. Pass the tissues as Deena’s vocals coax water to the eyes with this beautiful tale of love and longing. “The Bridge Of Love” and “The Warm Sound Of Your Voice” are also old school country crooners that highlight the band, with their super tight performances, pitch perfect vocal harmonies, and Deena’s vocal warmth. The latter song utilizes a Ravi Shankar/George Harrison sitar style instrumentation that is breathtaking when matched with Deena’s multi-octave delivery.

In-between we get a healthy dose of “Happiness” (oh, you’ll be smiling), “Fog,” a song that could definitely be sung around a campfire, whether it’s a camp in the woods of Maine, or on a Jamaican beach, “Look Out You,” which revisits hard core new wave ( a la The Shirts, Brooklyn ’78) with a sick lead that uses space guitar reverb to send this tune into comfortably numb territory, and “Master Of My Emotions,” which spews a B movie horror theme musically. While images of Frankenstein’s monster doing the Robot dances in our imagination, The Cukes deliver a Blondie style rap giving us sweet visions of the early 80s electro-pop scene which spawned bands like, well, like The Cucumbers.

And what has all this spawned into the 21st century, into the right here, right now? An artistic community that must survive on its own in order to be able to practice its art. “Musicians I Know” is a big Thank-you and Salute to all the musicians who work day jobs in an effort to support their art. The song wraps up with the band not only offering all those musicians they know some advice, but also making a request: “Don’t quit your day job.” The closer, “Daylight” finishes the theme, relating a night in the life of any artist who must support themselves both monetarily and through the love and passion of their art.

Yes, it isn’t easy to be in love. Whether it’s with another person, with an art form, or with the deliverance or the acceptance of that art form, it’s hard to be all things to you. Yet, in “All Things To You,” The Cucumbers tell us “I wanna be / All things to you / Even if impossible / All things to you / That’s what I want.” And we believe them. We believe them because this CD delivers on that promise. A promise underlined by the purity and professionalism of the songwriting and music given to us with open hearts and smiles, a promise that reflects the love of The Cucumbers.

    The Cucumbers - All Things To You
is available now for
$10.98 +s/h*  

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Frank Critelli Go To Top eric D

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