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Cheerbleederz - 'Lobotany' EP Review


1. Say 2 U

2. Disco

3. Sometimes I Cry At Work

4. Gaze Of Others

Mathematically speaking ‘greater than the sum of its parts’ is a bit of a nonsensical expression. Fortunately I’m not writing about maths. I say fortunately because I really don’t know very much about maths other than what I’ve just written. It’s also fortunate because it’s what makes music like alchemy; creating pure gold from base ingredients. Anyone can put musicians in a room together and say they’ve created a band, but the real acid test is what happens after that, what magic is ignited, what beauty is created.

So what happens if you take members from three Indie/Punk bands, throw them into a mixing pot (well, more sort of gently place them, throwing would be rude) and put them in a studio? Well, the sort of thing I’ve been listening to for the past week and a bit, I suppose. Cheerbleederz are made up of the female members of Fresh, Happy Accidents and Finish Flag, and are releasing their sophomore EP, ‘Lobotany’ on Alcopop! at the beginning of February. Whilst the debut EP, ‘Faceplant’ gave a suggestion of what the band could produce, it never really produced the goods- the tracks seemed in need of a jolt of adrenaline, a spark of magic that just never showed.

Fortunately, the 15 months since ‘Faceplant’ have allowed the time for that spark to catch flame, and give the band’s sound a real kick, a real edge. The constituent parts of the band are still evident; the wistful atmospherics of Finish Flag, the whimsical edge of Happy Accidents and the drive of Fresh are all there, but there’s something else this time. Opening track, ‘Say 2 U’ has the mellowest of beginnings and for a while it seems like the song will drift along aimlessly and even peter out without doing much at all, and then it kicks in. The fuzz of guitar and kick of drums that enters at one minute and fifty-three seconds is perhaps the most satisfying moment in a record that I have heard for a long time. Track 2, ‘Disco’ is a hit if ever I’ve heard one- catchy chorus, joyful guitars and a great lyric (a tale of not fitting in, despite trying to be a good person and doing the right thing) really, what more could you want? Also the video is absolutely incredible and you need to see it. ‘Sometimes I Cry At Work’ and ‘Gaze Of Others’ finish off the EP with style, the former concluding with a harmonic roar that nearly killed me. Sort of.

I hesitate to discuss gender in this context, given that I am a man and Cheerbleederz are not. But the fact that they are the only women in their respective bands, must at the very least mean that the creative spark is different when they come together, they’re coming from a different start point than their male colleagues, their experience is different. Together, Cheerbleederz have created a sound that is vulnerable yet incredibly powerful, introspective yet screaming from the rooftops, beautiful yet brutal. Greater than the sum of its parts? Yes. EP of the year so far? Most definitely, and it’s going to take some beating.

Review - Jon Stokes

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