Cheerbleederz: Even in Jest - Album Review
No clowning, this is one of the best albums of the year so far.
I first learnt of Cheerbleederz as a supergroup. As a fan of each member's other musical projects (including Fresh, Finish Flag, and Happy Accidents), I was hooked instantly. Early singles like the infectious Cabin Fever delivered on this promise, and with each new release the anticipation for a full-length Cheerbleederz record heightened. Arriving hot on the heels of Fresh's excellent third album Raise Hell, we have the debut Cheerbleederz album. Even in Jest is an instant classic that stands as one of the best releases in each member's storied catalogue.
It's clear that you're listening to something special from the moment that opening track Break Ur Arm swaggers into view, sounding like a lost Nirvana classic. From the electrifying guitar riff to the scream-along chorus, it's an immediate winner. The opening salvo of tracks don't let up, with the infectious Cute As Hell, the bouncy Nail Biters and the relentless My Condolences building momentum to a fever pitch. The latter track is a mercilessly heavy delight, with bassist Sophie Mackenzie delivering a standout performance.
The album isn't all supernova explosions - some of the highlights come from the more delicate moments. Take Love/Hurt; the album's glistening centrepiece. You can perfectly picture a shining mirrorball as the spectral piano lines and Wendy Carlos synths wash over you. The band have a close-knit dynamic forged in real-life friendships - there's moments where you can tell how much fun they're having, whether it's the harmonized vocals in Out Of Body or the three-part attack of Pinwheel's anthemic chorus.
The record's best moment is saved until the penultimate track Notes App Apologies. Opening with a catchy melodic riff and building into a cathartic chorus, it's an intense listen. Between the wild instrumentation and powerful lyricism, it's no wonder the band have described it as healing to release. Notes App Apologies is genuinely unforgettable, making for one of the best songs of the year so far. When it rolls into the final track Pinwheel, you're left reeling.
So yes, while I was introduced to Cheerbleederz as a supergroup, it's clear they're much more than that. They're three of the best songwriters and musicians in the UK punk scene at the moment, and together, they've made a phenomenal rock record. It's a special album when you can feel the close bond between the members as you listen, and Even in Jest is a special album indeed. Whether you're a fan of each member's other band or not, you'd be a clown to miss out on this record.
Highlight tracks: Notes App Apologies, Break Ur Arm, Love/Hurt, My Condolences
Key lyric: I'm an optimist at heart - you'd have to be after seeing the things I've seen.
AC is the Head of Written Content at QSO Media. Follow them on Twitter.
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