Cherub's second LP continues their fixation with the whitest music of the '80s
MoM & DaD stands out and announces itself as boldly and brashly as it possibly can. Cherub immediately introduce their ‘80s disco-funk update and waste no time jumping straight out of the gate with as much dedication and conviction they can muster. Throughout the course of the record, the bass bounces, the guitars are jacked with treble, and nearly every vocal line is designed and delivered as sly falsetto. All of this is evidenced on opener “What I Want”, along with the completely overblown lyrics that perfectly match up with the band’s image as presented by MoM & DaD‘s cover image: gun-toting cocaine dealers.
While “What I Want” has a tempo that’s more mournful than celebratory, “Dear Body” gets the vibe to where it remains for much of the album, focused on drugs and sex. Those two topics make up roughly 80% of the album’s lyrical content. While this may demonstrate a lack of versatility, the subject matter suits Cherub’s sound perfectly. “Dear Body” also ratchets up their commitment to the ‘80s sound several levels with synth-like auto-tune and a talk-box solo. “You, Me, and Jodeci” dabbles in sleazeball profanity and includes couplets like “You can be my little slut, and I can be your little whore”. Those little moments are buried in nearly all of MoM & DaD‘s 12 tracks, sung with worrisome conviction.
MoM & DaD carries on in the same vein and endlessly repeats itself in form, which plays even further into the ‘80s aesthetic they not only embrace but embody. However, their commitment to a sound so dated, however energized their effort may be, takes its toll. Several of these songs become lost in the sequence, and none of them really stand out from the others, apart from some gleefully offensive and profane lyrics, like on the incredibly misogynistic “xoxo”, which is also hampered by length. It’s no surprise that track is immediately followed by “Monogamy”, which boasts a chorus that starts “Monogamy, it’s not for me” and ends with a bit about “getting down on your hands and knees”. That the overwhelming offensiveness isn’t out of place (nor is another talk-box solo) should tell you something about the disco-funk genre they re-appropriate and peddle.
“Roxxy”, the ensuing track, calls to mind an artist with whom Cherub share an uncomfortable similarity: The Lonely Island. The main difference between the two acts is that it’s incredibly easy to tell that The Lonely Island are kidding: They let everyone in on it as frequently as possible. With Cherub, they’re so dedicated to their songs and the recreation of the genre that it becomes next to impossible to figure out if their intentions are true or if they’re in jest. One would hope for the latter, but the uncertainty is troubling. However, either way, it doesn’t change the fact these songs exist and deserve to be reviewed on their own merits. Unfortunately, the only highlight worth mentioning from the album’s first half is the catchy, melodic “Doses & Mimosas”.
MoM & DaD then settles into itself and winds down, serving up two final highlights with the soft and kind of beautiful “Lynndenberries” and the vocal-dominated “All”, which offers listeners a welcome reprieve from the falsetto vocals by bringing in guest Natalie Prass. However, the song doesn’t elevate itself to her great vocal turn, but it does set up quiet closer “Don’t Forget Me” quite nicely. After listening to MoM & DaD all the way through, it’s difficult to forget, regardless of your feelings about whether Cherub are kidding or not. MoM & DaD holds up as a record but never offers a true standout moment. More importantly, it doesn’t offer anything new and exists only for fun and as a perfect soundtrack for especially sleazy moments. While there’s certainly nothing inherently wrong with that, there’s nothing important about it either. In the end, MoM & DaD lends itself more to conversation topic than repeat listening—and that’s a problem.
// Notes from the Road
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