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New Music: The Cheap Thrills
September 15, 2014
Any four piece rock band from Liverpool starting out since the frenzied heights of Beatlemania must recognise that they have large musical shaped shoes to fill. The fact that The Cheap Thrills declare their genre description as ‘purely a rock band, because to classify is to limit’; suggests that they are unlikely to be concerned with any such weighty comparisons past or present as they release their Parr Street Studios recorded sophomore EP ‘Oparadise’, providing a strong follow up to 2012’s ‘Do You Know What I Mean’.
The myriad of influences on the latter record certainly aided the sentiment of a band unwilling to conform to claustrophobic rigidity stemming from the noughties indie landfill generation in terms of scope. Inclusive of primary school friends-turned-teens: Lewis Pike on lead vocals and guitar, Terry Eaves on lead guitar, ‘Fitzy’ on bass, and Anton Eager on drums, each track showcased a keen knowledge of rock and roll in all its guises. Remnants of the Buzzcocks’ ‘Ever Fallen in Love’ and its abrasively catchy punk riffs live on in track ‘Who Fell Down The Stairs’, while the contrastingly mellow Arctic Monkeys’ Humbug era enthused psychedelic musings on ‘The Last Romantic’ appear to provide the template for evolution on new EP ‘Oparadise’.
Opener ‘Can You Feel’ echoes Kasabian in terms of its mirage of layers, representing a danceable transposition from distorted grunge intro through to a memorable arpeggiated repeat lead guitar riff and rousing chorus, replicating Tom Meighan’s proclivity for a bare chested singalong. ‘Open Eyes’ offers an introspective take on transitory love when scanning the daily lives of strangers on lengthy train journeys, played out over jangly power chords during lyrically sharp verses before segueing into a swelling chorus.
A further curveball is thrown in via the title track ballad ‘Oparadise’, highlighting the deftness of the band in flicking between Libertines esque distorted chaos and pared back tracks. Their vocals take inspiration from Alex Turner’s school of romantic imagery laden lexicon in lines such as, “She showed us the plans to the palms of her hands, and now your paradise is doomed”. The idiosyncratic gauge of sounds continues on the riff heavy, near-grunge rocker ‘Aphrodite’s Gift’ – representing an unlikely precursor to final track ‘Ode to Pedro’ in resembling the baroque pop styles of the ‘60s as a Last Shadow Puppets aping tribute which could benefit from the full orchestral treatment.
The Cheap Thrills are a band crafting music transcending the usual modern guitar band fare and into a musical realm belying their teenage years. They show a nod to esteemed Northern peddlers of recent indie rock & roll with an added infusion of punk amongst gentler moments, making for a rounded sound which has even welcomed The Guardian’s attention, making their 2013 list of ‘Breaking Bands’.
Headlining Liverpool Academy shows, successful London stints and winning the Liverpool Youth Sounds City Award in 2012 are just a few notable accolades that the band have achieved so far. This, alongside regular radio time on BBC Introducing Merseyside and at their beloved Anfield football stadium, represents merely the tip of the iceberg for a band looking set to prove there is life in rock and roll yet.