When I first heard about Leftover Cuties, admittedly, I was a little skeptical. A ukulele in place of a guitar? Come on now… Nevertheless, my music journalist instinct saw something unique in this five piece outfit – and it wasn’t just the ostensibly adorable lead singer, Sirli McAllen, with whom, by the way, you should read our interview about. On the night of their record release party for Departures, I headed to the small, crowded Hotel Café on Cahuenga to watch them perform.
Arriving just as the opening band was hauling away their gear, I situated myself as close to the cramped stage as possible. As I watched Leftover Cuties set up, I wouldn’t help but notice the arsenal they packed in. The ukulele and accordion had been mentioned to me as a selling point of sorts, but the French horn, the maraca, the trumpet, and cowbell? Now I was excited.
Without a word, the five begin to play – and it is magical. The deafening chatter of the bikers at the bar are silenced by the crafty harmonies taking shape before them. Their style is somewhat eclectic as they dance through indie rock to pop and jazz with old school veneer. I mean old, old school – the whole band dresses like they’re straight from the 20’s – and they pull off every movement, every cover, and every note with style and skill.
But these guys aren’t wannabes stuck in the past. In a world where style is too often held in higher regard than talent, Leftover Cuties are the real deal. It’s light-on-your-feet dancabilly burlesque beach jams for the summer heart. Their sound is a refreshing breath of air in what has become a stale and musky scene. Watch as these kids play their cards right and aspire to do brilliant things.