Just under a year ago Terry Rytz, deep into a nine-year hiatus from music, went along to see Blink-182 perform an acoustic show at The Rose Theatre in Kingston. The show was so good that it inspired him to get back onto the music wagon and a month or so later his new punk rock band Cuecliché was born.
Fresh from the Blink show, Terry posted an ad online looking for a guitar player and singer/songwriter and found both in Jake Leigh. The pair met for a drink and instantly bonded over their shared love for music, and specifically pop-punk, and got straight to recording music together. Their early efforts attracted plenty of demand online, but the final piece in the puzzle was of course a drummer and, thanks to another online ad and plenty of Facebook stalking, the gap was soon filled by Keith Hackett.
I ‘met’ the London-based trio when seeing Jack The Envious and More Than Machines at Surya, in Kings Cross, and, despite shamefully missing their set, listening to their music post-show led to me getting in touch. They’ve honed a fun pop-punk sound that has a heavier edge to it, which they describe as ‘anthemic, powerful and meaningful.’
Terry explains: “We set out to be an unashamed pop punk cliché and we do get a lot of comparisons to bands who were big in that genre in the early 2000s: Blink, Sum 41 and Simple Plan to name a few. But in a lot of the songs if you really dig deep you can hear Jake’s metal influences in his tone and technical style plus a lot more raw punk in Keith’s powerhouse drumming.”
The band’s sound has been inspired by a wide range of interests, from Terry being a big folk/country fan and growing up to be a huge Bon Jovi fan, to Keith’s interest in Arctic Monkeys and Rancid without blinking an eye and Jake’s passion for anything with a guitar a chance with a special place for metal and the likes of Alter Bridge. But pop-punk is a common ground that’s resulted in the launch of their debut EP One Last Chance back in March.
The EP opens up in almost The Ataris-like fast-paced pop-punk style with Song For Charlie. It dives straight into rapid vocals supported by big crashing cymbals and lingering guitars that drop down into punky powerchords, then a chorus followed by flowing punky guitar notes and a burst of chords that leads into a suitably fast outro.
Next up, 10th of July – which is named after the date Terry and Jake first met up and Cuecliché was formed – opens up with a punk high-pitched guitar riff then dives into a heavy, chunky smash of chords with huge booming cymbals driving it along. Palm-muted chords support call and answer vocals between Jake and Terry in the verse before a classic singalong pop-punk chorus is followed by the big heavy chords. Check it out in a demo video below:
Possibly my favourite track on the EP is the excellent Crazy Little Princess, which starts off with a fast-moving riff and loads of cymbals. Chunky palm-muted guitars support a catchy opening verse, which flows into a singalong chorus that features more massive cymbals and driving drums and fun backing vocals. The second chorus is followed by drawn out guitar notes that jumps into a darting fast-paced guitar section then one final rendition of the chorus, before rounding out the track with a rendition of the opening guitar riff.
The EP closes out with its title track, the equally catchy One Last Chance. It again opens up with a cool guitar riff and mini drum-rolls, then a big punky verse with palm-muted chords and cool backing vocals. The intensity increases in the pre-chorus, which builds up to a powerful chorus with more big cymbals driving it along. The opening riff links into the second verse, while the second chorus is extended with a call-ans–answer version section, then a mini guitar bridge before a repeat of the chorus and ending on a funky mini guitar solo.
On what inspires their music, Terry said: “What we write about is really broad, you’ve got your typical clichéd “fear of growing up” pop punk song in A Lost Boys Anthem, a powerful resilient call to arms in 10th of July, which is a song we wrote as a promise to each other as band members to always put all we can into Cuecliché. Then there’s songs about girls, not fitting, drinking and the materialistic nature of society.”
If you like catchy pop-punk with a bit of an edge to it, packed with hooky riffs and some big old crashes of cymbals then you’ll love the feel good sound of Cuecliché – and I’m sure Terry is glad he brought his nine-year break from music to an end.
The band filmed their first ever music video during their recent tour and they’ve just been back in the studio to record their follow-up EP this month, which they hope to release in October. They’ll be out on tour with Liverpool pop-punkers Bear Trap soon, and have two gigs in London plus shows in Liverpool and Manchester upcoming, so keep an eye out for much more from Cuecliché soon. You can check out all their gigs here.