Monday, December 3, 2018

Vinyl Review: "Short of Popular" by Cherubs

Short of Popular
It's been a minute since we've heard from Austin, TX based label Soncic Surgery Records.

They sent some truly amazing music my way last year.

In the meantime, the label owner has purchased a bar/concert venue and has just been working working.

Well, last week, he sent me a message that was basically get ready, because you're going to get some new music from us.

From where I sit, that's a pretty awesome thing. Especially since this gorgeous record is currently spinning on my turntable right now. Truth in journalism, it's my backup turntable. There was a Thanksgiving Incident.

Now, before I get far enough along to lose the plot, let's turn back the clock and get a little bit of information about Cherubs. Their Wikipedia page shows one extended play, three studio albums and a compilation album released back in 1996.

The compilation, Short of Popular, was released after the band had broken up. Their last LP, 2 YNFYNYTY, was released after they reunited, as was the EP.

Not sure what it is, but re-released vinyl seems to be a specialty of mine.

Two albums, break up, and then release a compilation record of your illustrious career. Frankly, that's ballsy.

Now, what are Cherubs? Certainly 23 years later, they're not the younglinges the name implies. They're a noise rock back from, you guessed it Austin, TX.

Are they a bit left of center?

You know it.

I'm told they're a noise rock band, but you know what I'm learning? Apparently, I've no clue whatsoever as to what Noise Rock is.

My first thought is that Noise Rock is music started by a bass player because he just really wants his friends to be in the band. The last two Noise Rock artists both had very strong bass players.

Here, he's the star of the songs. Without those crisp, running bass lines, there would be literally nothing here to talk about.

The energy is infectious. The lyrics are indescribable because I cannot understand them and it would feel cheap to read the lyrics instead.

The guitar solos are non-existent.

There's a very strange and angry call and response motif. The guitar sounds like it was recorded through a dryer and if you pressed me, I'd wager the drums aren't as well formed as we see in the photos.

Like Lister's Fried egg, chili, and chutney sandwich, all of the ingredients are wrong, but it works. Short of Popular is visceral and demanding. Before reading they were Noise Rock, it sounded a bit like they were bordering on the holy territory of Metal.

Don't be fooled,, there's some metal in their DNA, but it's from their cousin twice removed. 

The irony that I chose to skip doing the unboxing video for this one. Welp. I'm sorry, friends!

Let's start at the beginning. The cover is absolutely beautiful. It's also completely insane, but that simply buttresses the beauty. In my world, this is the first one like this I've seen and that makes it interesting.

Instead of a single sleeve, we're looking at a gatefold with more of the same artwork on the inside as well. And the record?

It's a tri-color vinyl featuring the three colors on the sleeve.


Now, the fun part about reviewing a noise rock band on your backup turntable is...

Is that distortion supposed to be there or did a fuzzy get on the stylus??! 

But, as with all of the Sonic Surgery records, it's a great press with a crystal clear sound.


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