cheerbleedrz – ‘even in jest’ album review

Cheerbleedrz Even In Jest album review 2022 Alcopop Records

A lo-fi supergroup featuring members of Fresh, ME REX and Finish Flag, Alcopop! Records signings cheerbleedrz debut albumfinds the trio discussing what it means to be a womxn in the current climate – all against a backdrop of brexy melodies and sugar-rush hooks.

Fuzzy and scuzzy guitar sounds – with a hint of ’90s US college rock – signal the start of album opener ‘Break Ur Arm’ as the band declare, in typically self-depreciating style that ‘I guess lately I haven’t been feeling very likeable’. Following this is ‘Cute as Hell’, a teen movie anthem all about an (unrequited) crush: ‘I’ve changed my underwear 13 times today, never really been one for lingerie but you’re cute as hell, I’m into you’. ‘Nail Biters’ then finds anxiety front and centre – ‘I don’t know what you’re doing. I don’t know how to behave. There’s always something itching at me at the back of my brain’ – against guitar work that falls somewhere between Graham Coxon and Sky Larkin before finishing with a chant of one of those sayings all of us who struggle with assertiveness love to say: ‘No worries if not’.

‘My Condolences’ features the line ‘I don’t understand why everyone likes your band’ – we’ve all felt like that – and a healthy, cathartic dose of screaming before ‘Love/Hurt”s synth-led drumbeats take the sound in a different direction as the band dream of a clear inbox and trying to stay hopeful, even in today’s world: ‘I’m an optimist at heart, I have to be’. ‘Out of Body’ reminded us of the sweet indie-pop sound of cult mid-00s favourites The Spinto Band while ‘Carbon Copy’ turns things up with heavier riffs and anger towards a selfish man: ‘The truth is even though I act so jolly, I can’t stand him’; ‘We’re bored to tears’.

The penultimate ‘Notes App Apologies’ is a plea to someone to start thinking about others – ‘You never work on yourself to care about anyone else. You never work on yourself, hide behind bad mental health’ – before the album comes to a close with the slower ‘Pinwheel’. ‘Even in Jest’ is a honest and humorous look at modern life and how it can sometimes be rubbish, but also the ways in which humour, hope and friendship can make things better. Three cheers for cheerbleedrz!

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