Cheap Girls - Famous Graves (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Cheap Girls

Famous Graves (2014)

Xtra Mile Recordings

If you’ve heard Cheap Girls’ My Roaring Twenties and Giant Orange, then you’ve heard Famous Graves. In no way does that minimize the strength of this record; in fact, fans will appreciate this steadfast commitment to both of their winning formulas. Half of the songs -- tunes like "Amazing Grace" -- are fun, major-key head-bobbers in the vein of "Ft. Lauderdale" and much of My Roaring Twenties. The other half -- songs like "Pure Hate" -- are more akin to the heavier, Dinosaur Jr.-like anthems of Giant Orange. Cheap Girls continue to pump out simple, rocking power pop, but for whatever reason, the songs continue to be endlessly playable.

Gone is the wall-of-guitar-sound that made 2012’s Giant Orange a sonic delight, but the band still rocks through 10 heavy numbers (11, if you count the great iTunes bonus track “7-8 Years”). "Sneakily shredding" remains an apt description of Adam Aymor's guitar playing. Aymor really knows how to make the most of three-chord punk songs; melodic lead lines and solos needle themselves in and out of the power chords. Additionally, it seems Ben Graham has been given a little more leeway drum-wise, and a close listen will reveal a tighter feel, more fills and varied beats than on any previous Girls release.

Singer/bassist Ian Graham is still always “spacing out and taking the wrong shit in,” drinking and smoking too much, and overanalyzing every detail. Unfortunate for him, but his misery makes for great songwriting and plenty of memorable hooks. If there's any drawback, it's that his voice is a little more mumbled than it already was; you're going to need a lyric sheet to commiserate with Ian.

Famous Graves is nothing new and nothing extraordinary. But it excels in its simplistic catchiness and its familiarity. This is a power pop album for the hungover and miserable. Ian Graham knows how you're feeling.