CUTE LEPERS: “You Don’t Have to Belong to the Religious Right” b/w “Any Danger Love”: 45

I think that the fact that this record sleeve has “CUTE” in green letters and “LEPERS” in pink letters traveling down adjoining sides of the front is probably reason enough to dash out and obtain it, if only because the words are running across the top and right sides, making it a titillatingly innovative new variant on the “Elvis Presley” / “London Calling” theme, which always used the left and the bottom. As far as the actual music goes, “You Don’t Have To Belong To The Religious Right” sounds like the kind of song idea where somebody was bound and determined to write a song called “You Don’t Have To Belong To The Religious Right” for some reason other than actually having some legitimately inspired song called “You Don’t Have To Belong To The Religious Right” burning a hole in their metaphorical pocket. Clocking in at a padded and unsatisfying 4:17, this song is weak enough that it could become their “Bonzo Goes To Bitburg,” although i guess that song aged fairly well, so go figure. The real treat is the b-side, a cover of the Starjets immortal ((or, at minimum, barely mortal)) late ‘70s Irish power-pop gem “Any Danger Love.” Over the course of the last coupla decades, it seems like “Schooldays” has kinda been retrofitted as THEE Starjets song—and, no question, “Schooldays” is certainly a fine song—but as you, me and the Cute Lepers know, “Any Danger Love” trumps “Schooldays,” hands down. Still, i’m thinking they’re not quite doing the little echoey ((proto-pre-U2?)) lead quite correctly…they’re going “Any Danger Love ((Deedle-ee-dee-dee!))” when i think it’s actually “Any Danger Love ((Deedee-deedee-dee)).” Actually, i just dug the song up and the lead doesn’t really do either of those two things, but it’s closer to my thing than their thing, so ha! Cool cover on the outside, cool cover on the b-side, not much for an a-side. So it goes. Whoops, wrong power pop reference. BEST SONG: “Any Danger Love” BEST SONG TITLE: “Any Danger Love” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I can actually tell you the day i listened to the Starjets album all the way through for the first time: December 3rd, 1982. I was in high school and i went over to my friend Kirk’s house at lunch because my band was playing in Madison that night and we were skipping our after-lunch classes that day, but i had lunch 4th period and all the other guys had lunch 5th period, so i was at Kirk’s house an hour early, and his mom was there, but he had this big mean dog that wanted to kill everyone, so his mom told me to lock myself in Kirk’s room for an hour and listen to records, because otherwise the dog would go nuts and attack me, so i sat in Kirk’s room for an hour and played his Starjets album. Not a bad lunch, really.

 –norb (1-2-3-4 Go!)