The Cheats - Cheap Pills (Cover Artwork)

The Cheats

Cheap Pills (2003)

Da Core

For cheap (redundant) punk thrills The Cheats deliver with their debut full-length ‘Cheap Pills'. To wit, you don't have to invest much into this Pittsburgh five-piece's raucous '77-era punk, as their disc is a mere 20-minutes in length and the lyrics are quite straightforward and elementary, dealing with girls, drugs, drinking, and just generally being a loser.

Sure the album's fun and the band is competent, but with all the classic punk song references sprinkled in the lyrics, you just have to wonder if they're trying too hard to be punk – "Got to Get Out" features the words "straight to hell" recalling The Clash and frontman Todd Cheats' vocals sound eerily like the late great Dee Dee Ramone (think "Warthog"…), on the title track Todd says his girl is "born to lose" blatantly quoting our man Johnny Thunders, while G.G. Allin is resurrected with the use of "crash and burn" in "Buzz Bomb." And how could I not mention that obvious Sex Pistols rip-off at the end of "I Just Want to Tell You"? The famous last words Johnny Rotten pukes out on "EMI" are uttered, as Todd methodically articulates a drawn-out "A&M". That has to be the most irksome: we KNOW who their influences are, why do they have to shove it in our face? Furthermore, on this song, it's as though they repeatedly shout "fuck you" merely for some crucial punk points. The band closes out the album with a cover of Rubber City Rebels' "Young and Dumb".

So, basically, as aforementioned, if you want something new, don't look here, but if recycled punk is your thing, by all means check out The Cheats.