Cheekface first danced into our company wearing soft shoes, and rolling back the carpet with their anthemlike track “Glendale”. Over here at popbollocks we loved that song, probably too much. We would attend parties, and say shit like “Hello, our name is popbollocks, and we love this song called “Glendale” and it’s important that you do too. Then we’d hijack the bluetooth speakers, and play air-cowbell. Anyway…
Cheekface are back. On May 4th, via the New Professor Music label, a new song will be released. Thankfully our excitement is not in retrograde. Delivering on the promise made by that jaunty, initial release comes “Dry Heat / Nice Town”. This track answers the question, “What song do you play after you play a song like “Glendale”?”
When speaking about the inspiration for “Dry Heat / Nice Town” Greg Katz (guitarist and singing person) said: “Mandy and I wrote this one after we went to the Women’s March. I think the only way a more utopian society can happen is through mass protest movements. The central question of the song is, what would happen in L.A. if a public demonstration resulted in socialist utopia? And the answer is, there would be free green juice at 7-11.”
So, you get the point. Revolution is real. Rock ‘n’ roll may well drive the engines of social change – but Cheekface are well aware of the paradoxes, and ironies of our silly human impulses. Green juice may well be a totem for a certain kind of person, and a certain kind of lifestyle, but you know that shit is also really good for you, right? The need for revolution is very real. “You can’t cover up late capitalism with make-up any more.” Is a line that’s as tragic, real, and heart-felt, as it is funny and apparently throw-away.
Cheekface make the sharpest observations of their environment. Katz, as a lyricist knows how to make the simplest turn of phrase richer by editing heavily. There’s no filler here. Katz, as a vocalist knows how to convey the big truths in the most disarming manner. When addressing the actions of anarchists, and the authors of protest signs, he sees diversity unified in the act of protest. Repeating the line “Too good to work in a business….” before altering the phrase to “Too good to work for… anyone…” Katz let’s slip his dedication to a work ethic. The revolution here is coming when Cheekface seize the means to the producer’s chair.
Despite the sardonic tone to Katz’s vocal delivery, there is a poetry at work. Echoes of Jonathan Richman’s finest album, I Jonathan, bounce through the roots of this track. Cheekface are a band that handle themselves lightly, but their work is weighty, significant, serious. Frankly, this is some of the best stuff to populate your summer playlists. Instrumentally, the bass is made of equal parts hip and sass – the percussive tambourine is damped all the way back to the mid-nineties when the words ‘indie-rock’ really meant something.
A nod should be made to the artwork for “Dry Heat / Nice Town”. Where “Glendale” shared a simple slice of cherry pie, illustrated by bassist Amanda (Mandy) Tannen – this new track has a slice of pizza. This continuing vision of triangular-sliced food is deeply pleasing. If you read Jung and enjoy the idea of synchronicity you’ll enjoy a three-piece band whose food is cut into triangles. If you think Jungian discourse is a load of bollocks, you’re left with a simple slice of pie; a simple of slice of pizza – and that may be even better.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MIRIAM BRUMMEL