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  All Things to You  
  The Cucumbers  
  Morphius Records  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  Indoor Miner  

If a cucumber is "Satan's watery cock", then I can only conclude that this New Jersey based, husband and wife act have coined the wrong name for their band. There's nothing particularly satanic or…er…phallic about All Things to You, which is a lush, country-ish album. Indeed, from the opening Right Here Right Now onwards, it's fair to say you know this is never going to venture into Black Sabbath territory for a single moment.

But, before I go any further, it's cards on the table time. I'm not a country fan, so I wondered at first if I was maybe the wrong person to be reviewing this. But repeated listens reveal some really good stuff here. Sure I could do without some of the more jolly moments - wailing "Whiskey" over and over in a twee voice on the jig-like track of the same name is definitely not my cup of tea - but, the more heartfelt numbers like You Know It's Alright with its lazy strolling beat are much better. And The Bridge of Love, in particular, is lovely.

In fact, there are a number of tracks that I could describe this way. Warm Sound of Your Voice has a gorgeous aching quality as if Low were to go in a more country-ish direction. It also features a great, almost Eastern sounding instrumental break, and, along with The Bridge of Love, is probably the highlight of the album for me. Actually, I'd like to see them concentrate on this direction. Deena Shoshkes has an almost pleading quality to her voice that suits this slower material much more than the aforementioned Whiskey, or Fog, another of those horrible twee moments.

There's also some great harmonies here between Shoshkes and her husband Jon Fried, particularly on The Bridge of Love and the acoustic Bend Me Lie A Willow, where the two voices merge and complement each other quite beautifully. Considering that, despite the gentle, yet heartfelt, way Deena sings, her constant pleas that she bent like the aforementioned willow, I can't help thinking that she's asking her chap to bring out the, shall we say, contortionist in her!

However, although I generally prefer the quieter moments, Happiness, sung by Fried, is a mid-tempo number that works really well with a nice use of falsetto. Likewise, in Master of My Emotions, Shoshkes reveals an almost Phil Lynott like ability to cram as many words into a line that is humanly possible: "Turn off the light turn off the day and take me any way you will". As such, it's a quirky little number that gathers momentum nicely.

All Things To You ends with Daylight, another of the jollier numbers on the album. Although it's one of the better tracks of this ilk on the album and I like the added banjo, I do feel The Cucumbers need to have a think about where they're going from here. At the risk of coming across like some maudlin stick-in-the-mud, I honestly think they should ditch the cheerier moments and concentrate on their strengths - Shoshkes voice bringing out the beauty of their more tender numbers.

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