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Bending gender and genre conventions, Greenville’s newest punk-inspired rock outfit, The Cherry Icees have arrived with their new self-titled EP. Comprised of members of Now in 3D! and sounding a bit like The Ramones meets The Runaways-on-speed with a pinch of surf punk, a dash of twee pop (or cuddlecore, if you remember the 90′s), and a little bit of The Kinks, the band’s debut EP delivers 4 straight forward tracks of good ol’ fashioned American punk rock.
“Tough Girl” opens up the record with a surfy gutiar melody that scales up and down until vocalist Shelby fires out the vocals snottily, reminiscent of a very young Ben Weasel. What’s cool to me about this track comes in the fact that, while, yes, the guitar riffs have a very surf rock sound, they don’t veer into rockabilly or psychobilly territory, which isn’t something you get very often.
Switching gears with “Wasting Time,” the band reminds me slightly of a rawer version of Cub. Crunching guitars are replaced with a softer, sparse lead guitar sound borderlining shoegaze, while background strumming and the drums lay the backbone of the song. Lyrical simplicity ties the song’s subtle layers together. It stands out most on the record, as its the only soft track of the bunch, but it’s definitely my favorite.
“You’re Really Doing Me In” picks the pace back up with a stronger Ramones style. Here, The Cherry Icees showcase their knowledge on what worked best about the late punk legends’ melodic structure, and this track and (even more so with) the album closer “telephone” really capture the spirit of the fun, upbeat nature the sound of The Ramones had. And this is why I’ve always loved variations of punk rock. The lyrics could be chronicling something depressing, but the music itself creates a positive atmosphere ripe for jumping and dancing. As AFI once sang, “Oh, we dance in misery.” I love that.
That’s not to say the lyrics here are overtly depressing. They’re not. But the subject matter isn’t always necessarily discussing the happiest situations at all times either.
Picking “telephone” as the finale was a great choice. It implements the most rocking elements of The Cherry Icees and amps it up. Besides, it’s by far the catchiest track on the record and ending with that really fun succession of choruses leaves a great final impression on the listener to look forward to future recordings.
Though slightly (and understandably) rough around the edges, The Cherry Icees self-recorded, self released and self-titled debut EP is great fun for those with a taste for the original punk style with pop sentimentalities. It maintains that raw feel, but at the same time, the production was handled well enough that it never feels shoddy or lazy. I’m really looking forward to seeing what this new band does when they start to play out, and am definitely curious to hear where they go next. So good on them for catching attention on the first release! With a runtime of 8 minutes, there’s no excuse for not checking out The Cherry Icees’ debut, which is streaming below and available to download on a pay-what-you-want scale.
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