Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

Cheekface are uplifting and witty but also very punchable: It’s Sorted reviewed

There is a decent pop sensibility at work here, unquestionably, but too often the know-it-all snarkiness grates

Grade: B+

Cheekface are apt to divide opinion rather sharply. There are those who believe that the Los Angeles indie nerd-rock three-piece dissect late capitalism and the American psyche with an uplifting and insightful laconic wit. And then there are those who want to punch them repeatedly in the face, especially the singer Greg Katz – punch them and punch them until there is nothing left but broken teeth. I get that. I swing between both camps.

In this respect, and several others, they are rather like Weezer, except a little less cute. In the end people decided that a punching was probably the right option for Weezer and they may, after time, decide the same for Cheekface.

What we have here is half-spoken, half-drawled slacker vocals atop a sparse guitar, bass and drums ensemble which, weirdly, brings to mind the B-52s. There is a decent pop sensibility at work, unquestionably – catchy power pop choruses come and go with rather greater regularity than Weezer ever managed.

And then there are the words. Cheekface are, of course, lefties who satirise everything and see the value of nothing. Occasionally this is funny, as on the parody of US suburbia ‘Popular 2’, when Katz sings: ‘Ask away – is it punk to complain/ The salad’s mostly iceberg when it’s meant to be romaine?’ The closest they get to a love song is on ‘Largest Muscle’ – ‘Your tongue is your largest muscle/ You talked so much you had to get corrective surgery.’ Too often, though, the know-it-all snarkiness grates: the system allowed to you to buy your expensive guitars and preppy T-shirts, you spoiled children. That’s when you feel like reaching for the knuckledusters.      

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