Review: Cuffed Up – Asymmetry EP (2021)

Cuffed Up were formed through a chance encounter where Sapphire Jewell and Ralph Torrefranca first met, connecting about their love for the UK punk scene with bands like IDLES and Shame. A few months later, they formed Cuffed Up with Joe Liptock and Vic Ordonez.

They have a brand new EP ` ‘Asymmetry’ out this month.

This four track extended play kicks off with `Bonnie` and the band explains that the song is an anti-love anthem about the grief and pitfalls of a serious relationship crumbling due to lies and deceit. This is explored through the eyes of Bonnie (of Bonnie & Clyde fame), in an alternative universe where Clyde selfishly leaves Bonnie for dead. Bonnie is arrested and she decides to give Clyde up to the cops out of pure spite. Not because he left her in a dangerous situation, purely because of the end of their romantic, albeit toxic relationship. It has a pounding drumbeat and yoyoing guitar riff at its heart while Sapphire and Ralph trade vocal deliveries throughout.

`Terminal` i`m led to believe touches on Ralph Torrefranca`s reckoning with his own health struggles. A quite anthemic piece with kind of dreamy guitar riffs which seems to almost stop and start at times throughout. The singers again exchange vocal duties with at times a dreamy and then a much more aggressive delivery.

Sapphire`s vocals on `Canaries` feel quite breathy almost panicky as she relates this tale of a metaphorical life journey with Ralph chipping in along route. There`s a tension, come anxiety created by the musical accompaniment with a powerful drumbeat and expansive unstructured guitar chords. A tale that seems to possibly be about a confused relationship with a telling line of “Don’t settle down, don’t compromise”.

This release closes out with `One By One` a toe tapping fairly fast paced submission. A quite infectious, expansive, and mesmeric offering that had me drifting off while listening to it.

The urban dictionary has a number of definitions for Cuffed Up and I feel the band also have a number of ways their music can be defined. They have elements of post-punk, some grunge like touches and they even dip into nineties indie but also offer some delightfully melodic tunes with some versatile musicianship. ‘Asymmetry’ is a really enjoyable and appealing listen and it`ll be interesting to see how this quartet progress.

Rating 8.5 / 10