Cusses – Here Comes The Rat EP

Before we attempt to pull Cusses‘ long-awaited new EP apart, I have two questions for listeners to consider: 1.) Do you like roller coasters and 2.) Why? For some, their love of rollercoasters springs from the rush of adrenaline which accompanies a fast ride; it’s a physical thing. For others though, the rush is far more psychological. Their love stems from recognizing the possibility of danger and disaster in the ride. Those in that second group get off on the possibility that equipment may malfunction and send a car off the tracks, and bring certain doom with it to the ground; for them, riding a rollercoaster is tantamount to laughing at the possibility of a very graphic and public end for their lives in a place which is supposed to be safe and fun. It might sound unbelievable, but it’s true.

“So what does the observation above have to do with Cusses new EP,” you ask? One listen and you’ll know: Here Comes The Rat is fast, exciting and, at least occasionally, feels like it might lose control and end in a body count.

The second that Here Comes The Rat pushes off with “Golden Rat,” listeners will have their measure taken by the band. Here, guitarist Bryan Harder and drummer Brian Lackey are already warmed up and ready to run, but the real shocker is that singer Angel Bond sounds as though she already started partying before listeners arrived; she squeals in delight and nearly pants in a lustful groan and is totally uninhibited as she confesses taking an unfaithful lover apart with a baseball bat as a “feel good” measure.

It’s unbridled, it’s unhinged and it’s totally unforgettable; guitars and drums chase each other violently through the running of “Golden Rat” and it would be easy enough to assume that the song could only end in a messy meltdown but, after two and a half minutes of mania, Bond hits the phrase “I don’t want to get enough” like a signal and Harder and lackey sew the whole thing up as clean and neat as a professional seam. It’s done, band’s out and listeners will have to actively restrain themselves from giving a cheer. That kind of end is the sort of charmed moment which will have listeners wet and begging for more, and Cusses are just getting started.

While the band does tone their attack down a bit for “Sally and Her Tassels” – the song which follows “Golden Rat” – the difference in tempo only seems dramatic because “Golden Rat” set such a staggering precedent. Here, the band falls a little closer to a petulant jog in pacing, but the upside to that just means listeners are better able to pick out lyrics about heartbreaks, heartache and the veiled desire to hand the man who broke Bond’s heart his own (or feed it to him – because “Life is fragile”). True, “Sally and Her Tassels” is not the perfect song to follow “Golden Rat,” but it’s not bad and the band makes up for it with the far-less-veiled and faster track (“I’m Gonna Get You”) which follows it.

There, all is forgiven (“It fuckin’ well better be,” right?) as Cusses find a beat which would make the Gossip blush and Bond smirkingly references The Beastie Boys (“I’m gonna fight for my rights!”) while telling an unfaithful lover (we don’t know if it’s the same one) that she doesn’t care if he comes, lays or prays, but he sure as fuck can’t stay. The sense of liberation in the song is, well, liberating and will have those who hear it cheering again for Bond, but she knows the final note to end on so plays it a little coy with the words “No need to argue baby, no need to fight/ I’m gonna get you tonight.”

Finally, with only one shot left, Cusses burn the house they’ve built down with the help of a “Teenage Monster” to close the EP. Again, the anger, resentment and desire to spit in the subject of the song’s face are clear and, with the accompanying breakneck tempo, the band leaves an indelible mark on those who go front-to-back with the Here Comes The Rat EP. The lyrics get personal as Bond sneers st all the teenagers who step up to her (first, with lines like “You are not me or my wet dream,” and then with the dismissive, reoccurring “You’re only nineteen/ What does your life mean” line in the chorus) before Harder and Lackey command them to sit the fuck back down with some incendiary playing.

…And then it’s done; that simple, that fast, and listeners won’t be able to gasp that it was over so quick. “But wait – what? There needs to be more,” is the thought process which will filter through many minds, and they’re right; those listeners who took their licks with the Here Comes The Rat EP deserve more, but they’ll only get it after the band re-enters the studio to record and release another full-length. That taste may seem a little sour at first, but then those who went front-to-back with this EP will realize that this EP did exactly what it needed to: it got them hooked on Cusses. As well it should, but those who don’t want to develop an undying love of another band should steer clear. The Here Comes The Rat EP is an unbelievable ride that’ll make a fan of you reader – you’ve been warned.

(HA! Records)


Bill Adams is Editor-in-Chief of Ground Control Mag.