Saturday, 6 April 2013

Cheekbones - EAT SLEEP MOM DAD

Album review by

The cover of Cheekbones' 'EAT SLEEP MOM DAD' depicts a ruggedly handsome man carrying another man in a desolate yet warm and inviting landscape, and this imagery is a suitable outline for the album. Opening with minimal synths and echoing, glacial vocals 'Surfing The Nectar' entices like The xx at their warmest. On second track 'Moon Pills', Cheekbones find a looser, more organic sound with a Republic-era bassline looping through, as the song runs into a more primal soundscape. Where unlike La Roux or Robyn, the feel is not one of '80s pastiche, rather an accomplished amalgamation of influences into something much more contemporary, perhaps closest to that of The Naked & Famous.

After leading from the regal opening clutch of tracks 'Mr. Teaser''s angular guitars and compressed vocals don't work as well. The song has snatches of loveliness but comes across as trying too hard to with its attempt at white noise, coming over more bad riot grrrl pop than innovative sound crafting. Balance is restored on 'I Woke Up In A Rye Field'. Here, warm strings, and Ibizan trance guitar bring you to that warm sunset, it's a track that finishes too soon, leaving you wanting it to run smiling into a full Balearic breakdown. Standout track 'Hey Pop' rages in with Vangelis keyboards and primal, tribal drums crashing with Florence & The Machine or even Nine Inch Nails elemental intensity. A song running along the edge of chaos, climaxing in a swirling maelstrom of drums, feedback and crashing vocals. You can hear Blade Runner's Decker chasing a beautiful, androgynous replicant through blinding rain with 'Hey Pop'.

After the barely controlled chaos of 'Hey Pop', 'He's A Minx' let's us briefly catch our breath with its most affected vocal, a twinkling little break, all seductive, warm sounds. Following the hush of 'He's A Minx', Cheekbones bring out another strong track, Perhaps the most orthodox, structurally, of the album, and this is no bad thing for 'My Bus'. An almost drive time song, that recalls early Garbage with elements of 'Golden Skans' by Klaxons. Repeated plays and 'My Bus' grows to become another standout on 'EAT SLEEP MOM DAD'. 'Cartoon' doesn't work so well. Its upbeat riff reminiscent of mid 90's Britpop like Sleeper or Echobelly, with a slight 21st century makeover. Closer 'Vis-a-Vis' is exactly where you want to finish. Full Cafe del Mar synths bringing you down after 'EAT SLEEP MOM DAD''s quite sublime and rather wonderful ride.

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