Album Review: Cheekface – It’s Sorted

4.5/5

Flying drones around the neighborhood, it’s none other than the New England grindcore, making sculptures from mayonnaise, “America’s local band” Cheekface! In fact, these details are all snippets of the many quirky characters portrayed on the band’s latest record, It’s Sorted, and with the jittery indie rock, and melodic hooks as sharp as the wordplay, who could resist?  

Seemingly taking their musical cue from notable indie-art-rock-post-punk types like Talking Heads and DEVO, the funky, staccato rhythm section of bassist Amanda Tannen and drummer Mark “Echo” Edwards propels each song along. It’s the perfect soil for singer/guitarist Greg Katz to plant jittery bursts of guitar and ever-delightful observations of eccentrics, squeezed out of the tube of this absurd modern world we live in. 

Katz’s half-talking delivery (bringing to mind the deadpan wit of Cake or They Might Be Giants) perfectly sets the scene, while the music scuttles along, usually culminating in some of the most irresistibly catchy pop-rock choruses you could wish for. 

Which is part of the brilliance of It’s Sorted. The melodies underpinning the relentless stream of clever wordplay on songs like “Popular 2” (“and if I’m never ever gonna be alone here in my community neighborhood home, I just want to be popular to watch in the movie you put up from the camera on your porch”) will have you humming along even if you don’t hone in on the lyrical ingenuity.  

The incidental details come thick and fast (“Your thoughts are a handsy schoolboy who’s working part time at a target store” from “Largest Muscle”), leaving barely a moment without a notable hook, infectious bass line, or colorful image for hungry ears to chew on. 

For all of the album’s apparent bouncy frivolity, some of Katz’s observations have a subtle edge to them (see lines like “We really are the virus” and “We’re getting shamed online, so you don’t have to call the cops” from “Life in a Bag”). On closing track “Plastic,” meanwhile, the chorus offers what first seems a reassurance, quickly twisted to emphasise the song’s dry observations regarding our ever more artificial age: “I think we can make it, we can make it out of plastic”. 

Altogether, It’s Sorted is an album you can enjoy purely for the rush of great, catchy hooks and propulsive indie-rock rhythms. Add Katz’s fantastic characterizations and witty wordplay on top, and it’s not just sorted, it’s golden.

Buy and stream It’s Sorted and catch Cheekface on tour. 

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