One look at the cover of April's Alternative Press magazine and it's clear that this group's name isn't exactly ironic. Cute Is What We Aim For's collective hairstyle can be described only as carefully coifed, controlled shagginess. The photo shows two of the four strong-chinned Buffalo, New Yorkers, puckering up, appearing ready to plant one on the first alt-rock fan who looks their way. The implied message is: We aimed for cute and hit the bull's-eye.
Musically, there's nothing Earth-shattering here. Singer Shaant Hackiyan, though effective when employing his own sarcastic timbres, often slips into that all-too-familiar, prefab emo voice. The guitarist, bassist, and drummer rarely rise above standard power-pop shtick. Still, on their albums and in their videos, they come off as fairly self-deprecating and affable dudes huge qualities in making a band like CIWWAF likable and cool rather than intolerable. With that said, these guys are no Disney-punk boy band either. Lyrics such as "I want someone provocative and talkative/You're shallow as a shower/Are you perspiring from the irony?" give this band of not-so-long-ago high school graduates a nonchalant edge. The senior band member is Hackiyan, at 20, and the youth factor recently helped entice Atlantic Records execs to sign them. In the "Curse..." video the band is depicted drinking wine and champagne at a formal dinner party. During post-filming interviews, though, the truth came out: grape juice.
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Cute Is What We Aim For plays Thursday, April 12, at Revolution, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Circa Survive, As Tall as Lions, and Envy on the Coast are also on the lineup. Admission costs $16, and the show starts at 7 p.m. Call 954-727-0950, or visit www.jointherevolution.net.