There’s yet another new hard rock band out of Los Angeles. It’s called Cherri Bomb. It’s an all girl band. And, uh, the ages of the four girls in the band are rather scandalously young as they range from 14 to 16. So you’re probably thinking to yourself, as I did, that A) this is a band of young teenaged girls, B) they’re called Cherri Bomb, so, naturally, that’s C) a reference to another teenaged all-girl rock group out of L.A. from the ‘70s. Well, according to the official Cherri Bomb bio, that’s not the case. The band name comes from a book on female empowerment the girls had read and enjoyed tremendously. Uh, sure. Tell me another whopper. And even if the group’s story is indeed true, I’m pretty sure the management types behind these young women probably don’t mind comparisons to the Runaways, for which Cherri Bomb is just an updated version. Speaking of management, the band is backed by a rather Svengali figure in the form of Samantha Maloney, the former drummer for Hole, who is banking so much on the success of Cherri Bomb that she’s put her own musical career on hold, which seems a tad bit creepy and vulture-like, if you ask me. And while the booklet that accompanied my copy of this band’s CD emphatically stated that all of the songs were performed by the band, you really have to wonder. Can music this polished and relatively virtuosic (to a certain degree) be made by girls who are barely out of puberty? Is Cherri Bomb authentic? Does it even matter? Can this music just be enjoyed on its own terms, even if it turns out that this is all Milli Vanilli-esque and a put on? Well, it depends on your point of view.
The music of Cherri Bomb is ultimately the kind of jocular cock rock that men make, to the point where many of these songs feel as though they’re end credits music for a testosterone Hollywood blockbuster. (And, to wit, the song “Shake the Ground”, which appears on their first LP, This is the End of Control, being reviewed here, is also on the soundtrack to the mega-blockbuster superhero movie The Avengers. No joke.) The band’s debut full-length album is decent enough, with no real surprises and the odd clanger in the lyrics department here and there. (“You never see my way / Pissing on my flame / I’ll be the one left standing” from “Let It Go” is a prime candidate.) The disc is neither terrible nor brilliant, and straddles a kind of middle ground of being decent. The album does rock out, though: when “Better This Way” came on, I had to restrain myself from playing along on air guitar (seeing as though there are probably laws against this sort of thing given the ages of the young women featured here). Overall, Cherri Bomb is a pretty not bad rock band, and these gals can hold their own against the veterans of the rock scene, and male veterans at that. While the collective ages of the girls featured here might make one a bit uncomfortable because you have to wonder who this music is ultimately being marketed to (clergymen?), there’s still enough gargantuan hooks and riffs that do an admirable job of simply kicking out the jams. Whether or not Cherri Bomb is the real deal or just the product of some heavily orchestrated marketing campaign remains to be seen, and I would imagine we won’t know for sure until these girls turn legal age and strike out on their own.