It’s been three years since California’s Cherry Glazerr released their Burger Records full-length, Haxel Princess, and while the band has had an almost complete overhaul in terms of personnel, the smart songwriting, angular riffs, humor, and raw emotion of the band’s strong 2014 debut LP are back in an even bigger and better way on their latest record, Apocalipstick. With assistance from veteran producers Joe Chicarelli (The Strokes, The White Stripes) and Carlos de la Garza (M83, Tegan and Sara), Cherry Glazerr’s lead singer and guitarist, Clem Creevy, has been able to boost her band’s already dynamic sound with heavier drums and more prominent synths.
Selecting the tracks “Told You I’d Be with the Guys” and “Nurse Ratched” to tease Apocalipstick prior to the album’s release was a no-brainer. Both songs are similar in style and tempo and both pleasantly wrap Clem’s witty lyrics and sweetly stinging vocals around immediately catchy lead riffs and chord progressions. Listeners familiar with Cherry Glazerr’s previous work will instantly appreciate the fact that, although more glossy in terms of audio quality, Creevy’s signature lead guitar sound and compositional style are firmly intact. More importantly, those hearing Cherry Glazerr for the first time by way of these two songs will be able to easily understand and appreciate where the trio is coming from as both songs waste no time showcasing the band’s strengths.
Other standouts on Apocalipstick include the humorous, eighties-inspired “Trash People”, which has Creevy matter-of-factly singing lines like, “We wear our underpants three days in a row.” The group shows off their loud/soft/loud instrumental skills to great effect on “Only Kid On the Block” just before they slide into a slick, Moog-infused, danceable bridge that finds Creevy asking, “Why can’t I be alone? I’m like a dog at the door.” Not to be outdone, the gorgeous, sparse power ballad “Nuclear Bomb”, though more serious in tone than anything else on the album, fits remarkably well in the sequence.
Some tracks don’t fit as well as others, however. For instance, the speedy punk rock exercise “Humble Pro” gets monotonous halfway in, as does the smash and crash stomper “Sip O’ Poison”. Fortunately, Apocalipstick is brought to a satisfying end with a pair of decent songs cleverly tied together. The penultimate track, “Instagratification”, finds Cherry Glazerr resurrecting a shoegaze sound reminiscent of early nineties UK act Lush just before the song nosedives into the record’s title track, a Black Sabbath-like, heavy metal, apocalyptic, instrumental dirge that closes the album with waves of devastating distortion.
Overall, Apocalipstick is a significant step forward in terms of songwriting and production quality for Cherry Glazerr. Personnel shifts can be difficult, and sometimes it can take years before a band finds a chemistry that works. Cherry Glazerr appears to have taken the proper amount of time between albums and were thankfully paired with compatible producers who helped the group realize their true potential. Apocalipstick is a very good album, and with it being released so early in the year its well-deserved appreciation will hopefully be found in time for the band to enjoy continued success in the coming months.