Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Album Review: Lobotany by Cheerbleederz (by Emma Prew)

Cheerbleederz released their second EP, Lobotony, on Alcopop! Records at the beginning of February. If you’re not familiar with the band, Cheerbleederz are three London-based friends who each also play in other bands – Kathryn Woods (Fresh), Phoebe Cross (Happy Accidents) and Sophie Mackenzie (Finish Flag). I suppose you could say they’re a bit of a supergroup, but I just think they make some really great indie pop songs.

The first of four songs on Lobotany is titled Say 2 U. Opening first with a faint bass line before the guitar and drums come in, Say 2 U is a relatively slow-paced, quiet and thoughtful pop song with some wonderful subtle harmonies – including plenty of ohhh ohhs. At least, two thirds of the song is slow and quiet. The last verse sees Cheerbleederz up the volume and pace, declaring triumphantly ‘I wanna get to know you’. Brilliant. Disco is the second track. Not as slow as the first song, it features a catchy indie punk style riff from the outset which immediately grabbed my attention. The vocals are sugary sweet but it’s clear there’s an underlying bitterness in each word. At first glance, Disco is about not getting picked to dance at the disco despite being told you’re pretty and always working hard, although I’m sure this is also a metaphor for adult life. Either way, this is a really great song.

Sometimes I Cry At Work is up next and Cheerbleederz are straight in there with a catchy guitar melody and some wonderful harmonised ohhs. Sure, the band are not exactly at the hardcore end of the punk rock spectrum but they’re not trying to be – they still pack a hella punch with this song. Towards the end of the song there’s an extended instrumental section that shows off what talented musicians these three are. The last song on Lobotany is Gaze Of Others. It’s stripped back to start with, perhaps not quite acoustic but featuring softly strummed guitar before the vocals come in. And it’s a pretty poignant first verse – ‘Under the gaze of others, I feel so powerful and strong, Under the gaze of others, Sometimes the pressure gets too much.’ The bass soon comes in as well, bringing a warmness to the song, before the drums come in, completing the ensemble. I enjoyed the layering and building up of the track, not least because there’s some more gorgeous three-part harmonies throughout.

Lobotany is a great little EP that I’d highly recommend if you already like Fresh, Happy Accidents or Finish Flag but also if you like decent, catchy indie pop music with harmonies galore. Cheerbleederz deserve your ears.

Stream and download Lobotany on Bandcamp here and like Cheerbleederz on Facebook here.

This review was written by Emma Prew.

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