Given the many personnel and image-related changeups lead singer/guitarist Clementine Creevy has taken Cherry Glazerr through since its inception only six years ago, it’s safe to say that fans expecting a repeat of the group’s 2017 album, Apocalipstick, shouldn’t be surprised to find that the trio’s only constant member has flipped the script again. Listeners returning to Cherry Glazerr hoping for the humor the group displayed just two years past can stop at the cover art and title of the Los Angeles band’s latest full-length, Stuffed & Ready. And while the photo of Creevy standing barefoot holding a guitar with a mutilated sandwich shoved in her mouth may initially strike some as amusing, the image and album’s namesake take on a second, more deeper meaning when considering Creevy’s use of satire on many of Stuffed & Ready’s tracks.
Stuffed & Ready is a much heavier record both lyrically and musically than Apocalipstick. The album’s opening song, “Ohio”, finds Creevy delivering her gentle coo on top of a tough four-chord riff layered over a stunning lead line. Midway through, the hard-driving power chords disappear as the song dives into a floating bridge before picking back up and pounding the ending home as Creevy repeats, “Just take me away,” over and over. The instantly catchy, satirical “Daddi” finds Creevy singing lines like, “Who should I fuck, Daddi? What should I say?” over a skittering hi-hat and a start/stop lead guitar line. It’s a standout track that ends up being the most original and finest moment on the entire album. The two songs that lead into the conclusion of Stuffed & Ready’s first half, “Wasted Nun” and “That’s Not My Real Life”, find the band returning to the hard/soft/hard dynamic used on the album’s opener, but by this point the formula has become tiresome. Fortunately, Side A is somewhat recouped by the mid-tempo “Self Explained”, which pulls things into a surprisingly pleasant and uncharacteristic pop groove. After the successive throwbacks to early 90s quiet/loud/quiet indie rock, the change is refreshing.
The LP’s second half starts with the deceptively balladic “Isolation” before the band’s 2018 single, “Juicy Socks”, appears. The lyrics here are a sly allusion to the current administration’s not so subtle misogyny. “Don’t be nervous,” Creevy repeats during “Juicy Socks’” chorus, encouraging the resistance to speak out against the normalization of you know who. The airy, synth-driven “Pieces” sets things up nicely for what should be the album’s crushing, final blow, “Stupid Fish”. However, the four-minute song, which teases listeners with all the characteristics of a climactic moment, ends up falling flat when the music drops away in the track’s last fifty seconds, and Creevy screams embarrassingly, “I see myself in you, and that’s why I fucking hate you!” Stuffed & Ready is concluded with the oddly blasé “Distressor”. It’s a strange choice for an ender, as the song is bereft of any satisfaction, offering nothing special in terms of its execution and abrupt finale.
Overall, Cherry Glazerr’s third studio album is a mixed bag. Fewer than half of the songs here hit their intended mark, and those that do are the ones that stray from cliché contrasting guitar dynamics popularized almost thirty years ago. The only constant is change, and if the past is any indication of what’s to come, listeners who decide to stick around for Clem Creevy’s next move should most certainly expect a shift, hopefully into a more original style that’s perhaps best exemplified by Stuffed & Ready’s more idiosyncratic moments.