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A debut that's often unremembered as one - 80%

Gutterscream, June 18th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1982, 12" vinyl, Secret Records

“…ain’t we a pretty picture, ain’t we a load of fun?”

Prior to Under the Blade came an EP featuring (duh) rougher cuts of some songs that’d find entrance onto the debut and one that wouldn’t see the green light ‘til the Sistas started to show their first signs of sucking. The eldest of the pack go back to a ’79 demo, “Under the Blade” and a cover of The Shangri-Las’ ’64 hit “The Leader of the Pack”, while younger pre-“(Sure Can Hurt You)”-“What You Don’t Know” and “Shoot ‘em Down” make up the tail end of an ’81 demo.

One improves over its polished official version, “What You Don’t Know”, gifting us a cool extended solo and more gnarled Snider-pipes. One's slightly inferior, “Under the Blade”, which had yet to fill in and harden up its main rhythm, a pinch of an ingredient that would help create the track’s overall minor sense of urgency, meanwhile story-driven “Shoot ‘em Down”, not quite a fave of mine, is pretty much the same no-trick pony except for a finale of gunfire instead of the full-lengther’s handclapping.

Then there’s the cover that never needed creation, and I’m thrilled it only wastes album space here and then only later when TS started becoming a waste of space themselves shortly after climbing their career mountain peak, Stay Hungry.

Named like an afterthought endeavor released with a peak-of-popularity strategy in mind some time in ’85, Ruff Cutts still isn’t a bad little collectible to have. I usually forget this predates the band’s debut by a few months.