The purpose of the LA indie rock band Cheer Up Club is to “challenge common decency while maneuvering modern topics like mental health, sex and sexuality, addiction, and the tacky glitz of Los Angeles social politics” and to “shine a harsh light on things too-often swept under the rug, acting as the ugly voice in the subconscious that most people prefer to keep hidden.” Cheer Up Club hopes to bring a “fresh perspectives to the current dialogue” on their debut album Get Physical. The band describes their recording as “colorful and layered.” When playing live shows, the bands brings a “party-punk energy, complete with balloons and the occasional bout of crossdressing.” Members include Ethan Goodman (guitar/vocals/ lyrics),Nathan Espinoza (drums), George Avraam (bass) and Javier Martinez (synths/keys). Additional players are Will Gardner (bass) and Hannah Stone (synths). The band equates their sound to “Pavement getting into a fist fight with Elvis Costello at a Pixies rehearsal in Weezer’s garage.”
“Whiskey Ginger” is a straight up indie/pop rock tune professing – “you are, you are, you are, you are, my favorite color!” “Mindblownn” buzzes in with a jerky style and an infectious, toe tapping beat. “I’m in love with you / show me what to do” confesses Goodman on vocals. I absolutely loved the off, double-beat on Espinoza’s snare. The guitar melody on “Dolores Haze” and overall all arrangement really perked my ears. I thought it was one-part old school, like something from my childhood, and one part modern. It quickly became a favorite. The creativeness Cheer Up Club has shown thus far, just kept getting better as I heard the opening chords to “Fuck It Better.” Now I admit at first, it was hard to take a band seriously with a title like that, but I was wrong as the song went on. What could be better than a band who sings “true love saves the world?”
The next tune “Punching Nuns” might get you to question the band’s motives and or respect for celibate women. But that aside, it’s another great song filled with infectious melodies and guitar hooks. “Wintermute” throws a lot of fun indie pop style, danceable beats and one killer guitar lick all inside the band’s shortest number. “Lie to Me” features some electronic effects on the synths and a guitar that harkens back to a ‘60s surf style of playing – think maybe Del Shannon or Jan and Dean. Overall, I thought this song was the band’s most sobering song. Next up is “Fresh Sex” which features a slinky and heavy bass line. Disclaimer: there are plenty of suggestive lyrics in this one, I’m not going to lie. The synths have some extra flair here, too.
“Cum Armstrong” or is it “Coming on Strong” you can decide the words to this tune. Anyway, the drumming is sick and on the mark. Once again, more suggestive lyrics. I could only imagine what the words to “Pillhead” would be about and for the most part, I was right – “Saw some things I can’t believe / Jesus Christ with a flock of sheep.” In a nutshell, whatever you “see” or “imagine seeing” depends on what you’re on. Anyway, the chorus part between the guitar, bass and drums was quite good. The band’s last song is “Geezer” and yeah, it has a Weezer bent to it, a la “The Sweater Song” and also the Pixies “Where is My Mind.”
All things considered, I enjoyed Cheer Up Club’s variety of styles and musical arrangements and melodies. Some of the lyrical content I’ll gladly pass on, but there was a time when… well, you know. I suspect that time will be well into the future for the members of this LA indie pop/rock band.
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