Cherry Cheeks


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.

Cherry Cheeks Cherry Radio EP

Portland-based Orlandoan Kyle Harms is back with six more tracks of his trebly mix of DEVO, JAY REATARD, and late ’00s garage pop. The Bandcamp copy notes that this was recorded in 2020 (though, the liner notes on the physical release are silent on the matter), which would mean that these tracks likely predate those from last year’s Total Punk LP. In any case, this session seems to have yielded a somewhat poppier crop of tunes. The songwriting is as crisp as ever and the production is busy—full of intricately-laid layers of buzzy synths and warbly guitar overdubs—but fun. Worth picking up, for sure!

Cherry Cheeks Cherry Cheeks cassette

Another pandemic solo “band” and I’m not complaining. Total NW Indiana feels with a freak show keyboard that pops in when it wants. Bass drives this one, guided by rock solid jerk punk drums and freak show riffs—it’s weird as hell and more addictive than it should be. I feel like the syrup from CHERRY CHEEKS is gonna clog your earholes, because it gets sticky as hell on tracks like “Two Bugs” (“We’re just two bugs on a strawberry / We’re just two bugs on a blackberry”) and you’ll never get these hits off of your fingers. Fans of LIQUIDS, BLURT, SPITS and the like need to dig into these sounds pronto.