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July 22, 2024

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Cruel Timothy
Rules of Thumb for the Molested (2nd printing) (Pandemonium Music & Donuts)

By: Alex Steininger

Cruel Timothy is the musical alter-ego of David Mandel. Taking a psychedelic drive through many musical territories, Cruel Timothy arrives at his own sound by fusing rock, gothic beats, pop, psychedelic beats, acoustic ballards, and even adding in a wee bit of ska and industrial here and there. His music is also a tool to help the fight against child abuse and molestation. On the cover of the CD you will find David Mandel's head with the "Rules of Thumb for the Molested" written in blue. He then proceeds to give you the list, clearly inscribed on his completely bald head. After releasing one version of RULES OF THUMB FOR THE MOLESTED, Cruel Timothy and crew went back into the studio and did a few remixes, and a few touch ups to come up with the 2nd pressing.

"I, the Wicked Child" kicks off the CD. The keyboards start of the song as they slowly creep out of your stereo, then Cruel Timothy takes a moment to speak over the keyboards. A fuzzy bass line takes it from there, before the guitar chimes its way in. The keyboards create a sound reminiscent of the sound Hollywood has portrayed a U.F.O to make when it lands. With the "U.F.O" keyboard sound in the background adding a lighter sound, the drums, bass, and guitar add a nice rock feeling to the picture. The backing vocals, which adds a great deal of harmony, sounds as if they were coming from your head. It's as if you too are getting into the music, as Cruel Timothy forces you to become one with the song. The drums are so powerful and catchy, they will take control of your body and make you move. Cruel Timothy's lyrics can be interpreted in many ways, which gives the song a lot of variety and power. "Skin," Cruel's first single, has been moved up higher in the track listings this time. Think 70's guitar rock riffs mixed in with a modern rock kick, and an infectious pop chorus. On the first pressing the guitars were too over-bearing and they took control of the whole music, even blocking out the vocals. This time the riffs were toned down a bit, and the vocals pumped up, which really makes this song that much better. The chorus is still the most memorable part of the song. The verses are classic rock meets modern rock, but when that pop burst courtesy of the chorus hits you you'll be left with a smile on your face. "Girl from Moncton" is one of the album stand outs on this CD. It showcases Cruel Timothy on an acoustic guitar, which is really a treat. Cruel is one of those songwriters you would just love to release an all acoustic guitar album. Just his voice, lyrics, and a guitar. Oh...just the thought of it! But not only is the acoustic guitar a treat, when the bass jumps in, your body will move. Shakin' and movin' to the bass lines, believe me the bass adds that much more to the song. A quick interlude of noise seems like it would detract from the song, right? At first I thought that, but after visiting (link provided above) and reading his views on this song I have totally changed my mind. As the song is about the horrible life of a person with an eating disorder, the noise seems very much welcome to contrast the beautiful melodies of the acoustic guitar and the bass. The whole song is too short, but we can't have everything our way, can we? "Carolyne My Baby" reminds me a lot of "Sweet Caroline" during the choruses. A sweet pop ballard that will get you singing along and bouncing in glee. The song is bouncy and full of fun, your body won't be able to resist it. And now onto the final track, "This Is Your Nuclear Song," a new ending for the disc. On the previous disc it was "The Wisdom Cries," but Cruel & Gang decided to change it. Both great choices for an ending, but I do agree with the second pressing that "This Is Your Nuclear Song" is a better ending. A song protesting the use of nuclear bombs, yet a guitar can say so much. You'll be surprised.

With a few slight changes for the better, Cruel Timothy has once again proved to be a very talented songwriter and musician. Seeing the holes he had in his music, he went back into the studio and fixed them. I'll give this CD an A-. Some minor improvements over the first pressing sure went a long way.

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