THROWBACK: Cute Is What We Aim For

Originally found in Issue 11. Purchase here.


By Dan Sweatt

The kings of the social scene are back.

Cute Is What We Aim For, boys from Buffalo, NY and a major part of the Fueled By Ramen family, took summer of 2008 by storm. On top of headlining their own national tour that sold out venues across the country, they released their second album Rotation in late June.

The band has taken a jagged path to get where they are today. In their debut single “There’s A Class For This”, the band discusses how they carry drama around with them wherever they go. An understatement? Absolutely. This band has seen more drama than Audrina (yeah, I made a Hills reference, what up with it?).

“That first album, we were really just surrounded by drama”, says guitarist Jeff Czum. “Our old and was mad at us for recording new stuff, our parents were mad at us for wanting to be in a band. It was crazy.”

“We arranged the songs in a way that would take whoever listens to it on the journey we went on to make this record,” says Melilllo.

After facing numerous criticisms from online pundits about the technology used in the recording process for their new album and seeing more line up changes than Van Halen (almost), it seems they might hve finally found their peace.

“This (joining the band) has been great,” says new bassist Dave Melilo. “I love these guys. I’ve been touring with them since back in the day. I’ve always felt like I’ve been really close with the guys.”

The new face of Cute Is What We Aim For also produces a new sound in their latest release Rotation, an album that admittedly was supposed to be something we haven’t heard before.

The single, “Practice Makes Perfect”, is classic CIWWAF. It would have no problem integrating into the familiar sounds of The Same Old Blood Rush With A New Touch, but it transitions into something much more raw.

“Our old band was mad at us for recording new stuff, our parents were mad at us for wanting to be in a band. It was crazy.”

“I think it’s awesome that it acts like an introduction into the album”, says Melilo. “It’s like, here’s what you remember from us, and now here’s something completely different.”

The following tracks sound like a completely different band, in a good way. The first album found a way to rely on Shaant Hackiyan’s unique vocals in important moments. Rotation finds a new identity in its raging guitars and complex bass lines. The addition of Melilo, an experienced singer, helps in the layering of melody as well. All in all, the band has created a sound richer than that before; a price that’s paid through experience and growing up.