Music

Cherry Glazerr Perfects Noise Pop Blend on the Incendiary and Vital 'Stuffed & Ready'

Photo courtesy of Secretly Canadian

With its personal perspectives on the effects of the current cultural zeitgeist, Cherry Glazerr's Stuffed & Ready is not simply a great rock record, but an important document in the early days of 2019.

Stuffed & Ready
Cherry Glazerr

Secretly Canadian

1 February 2019

The term "noise pop" may be an inherently and deliberately kitschy oxymoron. But if any band makes the case that the two disparate forms can achieve synergy, it's Cherry Glazerr. With Stuffed & Ready, the Los Angeles band's third LP, this tapestry-like amalgamation of contradictory genres is at its most palatable, a bristly and savage exterior with a sugary core that helps it go down easy.

A feel of apocalyptic joy, of reveling as corrupt pillars and institutions crumble into chaos, pervades the records. Those insidious rituals being lain asunder, though, exist internally and externally, with writer-singer-guitarist Clementine Creevy giving them equal attention. Songs with an impressionistically confessional focus ("Juicy Socks", "Stupid Fish") abut the more polemical or socially critical ("Wasted Nun", "Daddi"). Frequently, simmering rage is given voice in incendiary instrumentation, with a righteous fury lashing out and narrators refusing to kowtow.

Yet despite the outwardly directed ire and inwardly pointed insights, the tunes don't get lost in being confrontational, as is owed to the catchiness the band injects. This fact can't be overvalued, for were the songs' crucial messages conveyed amid pure, heavy-handed clatter, they wouldn't be able to so thoroughly worm their way into your ears, find a place to stay, and compel you to revisit them. Similar to the way Cherry Glazerr merges noise and pop, they thematically marry the personal with the social, at times making it difficult to discern which camp each song fits into.

Creevy, drummer Tabor Allen, and bassist Devin O'Brien's instrumental interplay is fluid and tight, carried by a slickly flowing groove that serves as the ten songs' connective tissue. By turns moody and menacing, the trio's melodies rise to the fore amid a deluge of heaviness. With first track "Ohio", the album opens with a classic bait-and-switch. What initially seems like bedroom pop with Creevy humming over some lo-fi strumming, it abruptly switches gears and crashes into a heavy swirl. O'Brien's bass is tuned to a hypnotic level contrasting nicely with Creevy's eerie vocals floating above. "Just take me away," she coos, the first of the album's borderline anthemic mantras. It's a template the band uses frequently, vacillating between hovering adrift and plummeting to a rocky terrain.

Built around understated percussion and Creevy's high-end vocals in the verses, "Daddi" is an easy standout, not least because it's as unnerving subject-wise as it is captivating musically. Quiet verses of a narrator meekly asking permission from a domineering father figure give way to a blistering refrain where she casts off her shackles. Whether its narrative is meant in an incestuous manner or as a metaphoric lambasting of the patriarchy, the recurrent line of "Who should I fuck, Daddi? / Is it you?" is inherently skin-crawly, which is certainly the point in either interpretation.

Similarly, the driving surge of "Wasted Nun" finds Creevy assessing the way women are often viewed through the lens of our culture and the value men tend to apply to them. "I'm a wasted girl / I'm wasted nun / And I don't have fun," she belts amid unrelenting drums, satirically addressing the misogynist's view that women serve roles in his shadow. Then, with the mesmerizing "That's Not My Real Life", Creevy takes it further to a near meta-level, spotlighting the very notion that she as an artist is expected to fit a role from the industry as a feminist mouthpiece: "The suits, they don't want me to go / They just want me to bear it for all the women," she sings, amid some dizzying guitar work from guest Delicate Steve.

The next two songs centering the record, "Self Explained" and "Isolation", offer a one-two respite, being down-tempo and built on subtle textures than scorched-earth assaults. Both are also linked by their shared subject matter as they find the narrator zeroing in on her psychology of defense and withdrawing, the former featuring a guitar with a glowing searchlight span adding to its lonely vibe, while the latter builds to a roiling din. "Juicy Socks" has a tone of seduction, the bass line watery and luring you into an undertow. Suitably, the lyrics make use of swimming and being unable to breathe. It both throbs and shuffles, giving a danceable rhythm, Creevy's vocals at their most bewitching. The song also hearkens back to "Ohio", with its repetitive "Take me with you" in the outro.

It's in the final two cuts that the furor the album has teased finally erupts. With thunderous "Stupid Fish", Creevy lacerates herself and an object of scorn with equal vitriol. She sets up the refrain of "I see myself in you…" before capitalizing on it in the tail-end lacerated howl of "I see myself in you, and that's why I fuckin' hate you!" delivering the record's most shattering moment. Closer "Distressor" is a palate cleanser and apt conclusion, distilling all that came before it in a three-and-a-half-minute nugget. "So I can just be," Creevy intones as the swell builds around her, after again going meta with a line about wanting to "drown in my own noise". When it abruptly ends, both the song and the album leave the listener a bit shocked that it's all over while urgently readying to start it all over.

Cherry Glazerr is a band about making opposites come together, of making the poles not seem so far apart to begin with. Stuffed & Ready is their finest accomplishment yet of such a daunting endeavor. And with its personal perspectives on the effects of the current cultural zeitgeist, it is not simply a great rock record, but an important document in the early days of 2019.

8
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

Dancing in the Street: Our 25 Favorite Motown Singles

Detroit's Motown Records will forever be important as both a hit factory and an African American-owned label that achieved massive mainstream success and influence. We select our 25 favorite singles from the "Sound of Young America".

Music

The Durutti Column's 'Vini Reilly' Is the Post-Punk's Band's Definitive Statement

Mancunian guitarist/texturalist Vini Reilly parlayed the momentum from his famous Morrissey collaboration into an essential, definitive statement for the Durutti Column.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

What Will Come? COVID-19 and the Politics of Economic Depression

The financial crash of 2008-2010 reemphasized that traumatic economic shifts drive political change, so what might we imagine — or fear — will emerge from the COVID-19 depression?

Music

Datura4 Take Us Down the "West Coast Highway Cosmic" (premiere)

Australia's Datura4 deliver a highway anthem for a new generation with "West Coast Highway Cosmic". Take a trip without leaving the couch.

Music

Teddy Thompson Sings About Love on 'Heartbreaker Please'

Teddy Thompson's Heartbreaker Please raises one's spirits by accepting the end as a new beginning. He's re-joining the world and out looking for love.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Little Protests Everywhere

Wherever you are, let's invite our neighbors not to look away from police violence against African Americans and others. Let's encourage them not to forget about George Floyd and so many before him.

Music

Carey Mercer's New Band Soft Plastics Score Big with Debut '5 Dreams'

Two years after Frog Eyes dissolved, Carey Mercer is back with a new band, Soft Plastics. 5 Dreams and Mercer's surreal sense of incongruity should be welcomed with open arms and open ears.

Music

Sondre Lerche Rewards 'Patience' with Clever and Sophisticated Indie Pop

Patience joins its predecessors, Please and Pleasure, to form a loose trilogy that stands as the finest work of Sondre Lerche's career.

Film

Ruben Fleischer's 'Venom' Has No Bite

Ruben Fleischer's toothless antihero film, Venom is like a blockbuster from 15 years earlier: one-dimensional, loose plot, inconsistent tone, and packaged in the least-offensive, most mass appeal way possible. Sigh.

Books

Cordelia Strube's 'Misconduct of the Heart' Palpitates with Dysfunction

Cordelia Strube's 11th novel, Misconduct of the Heart, depicts trauma survivors in a form that's compelling but difficult to digest.

Music

Reaching For the Vibe: Sonic Boom Fears for the Planet on 'All Things Being Equal'

Sonic Boom is Peter Kember, a veteran of 1980s indie space rockers Spacemen 3, as well as Spectrum, E.A.R., and a whole bunch of other fascinating stuff. On his first solo album in 30 years, he urges us all to take our foot off the gas pedal.

Film

Old British Films, Boring? Pshaw!

The passage of time tends to make old films more interesting, such as these seven films of the late '40s and '50s from British directors John Boulting, Carol Reed, David Lean, Anthony Kimmins, Charles Frend, Guy Hamilton, and Leslie Norman.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.