Cherry Cheeks CCLPII LP
I pretty much knew this would be a home run before I put it on. Portland’s CHERRY CHEEKS’ first LP was a juicy blast of bedroom eggy punk that was catchy as hell. Now a full band, everything that worked before functions on an even higher level. The hooks are heavy, with the synth often taking front and center. The band overall is snappy, offering a jumped-up and mechanically precise sound even as they keep things lo-fi. Then things get even more synth-heavy on Side B with cuts like “Pure Power,” with a bounce that evokes TUBEWAY ARMY with more manic, shouty vocals. It’s good to see a band tweak the formula to keep things interesting for themselves. The penultimate track “DATA” stands out in particular, with its ’80s cyberpunk intro, nimble bass line, and stabbing guitar. It’s a perfect accompaniment to a panic attack. All in all, this band started out really good and is just getting better. Keep an ear out for what comes next.