Relapse always got it goin’ awn! I am not going to pretend I have heard of Cherubs who began in 1991, collapsed in 94 and rose again in 2014. Sometimes, discovering that you have missed out can be a good thing. This is one of those times.
Texan trio Cherubs comprise of Kevin Whitley – guitar Vocals, Owen MaMahon – bass vocals and Brent Pager on drums. Each instrument leaves a whole the size of a giants fist in my chest and eardrums. The band mix up the pace to accommodate brooding bruising grunge tinged numbers like Sooey Pig which sounds like Alice In Chains and early Janes Addiction fed through an Orange amp filled with LSD alongside discordant nervous breakdowns like “Pacemaker”.
Immaculada High can at times make the listener feel breathless and needing to gasp for air under the weight of the barrage and Whitley’s shrill manic vocals. However they kindly throw a life line of fucked up slower riffs and rumbling rhythms to cling onto. “Breath U Can C” is a case in point with its mix of slowed down Jesus and Mary Chain and desert rock. I imagine this is what it must be like wandering the Texas Badlands with a fist full of peyote and a bottle of tequila.
“18 the Number” could replace a siren on a psychedelic ambulance picking up festival casualties such is the resonance of the vocals. Urgent, spiky, undulating, staccato madness.
I’ll say it now, Whitley’s high-pitched vocals may not be for all – think a more manic Perry Farrell doing a Frank Black impression. In my humble opinion his gives each track a dangerous edge, creating a picture of a band that are teetering on the edge of madness, grinning and waving as they press hard on the gas pedal of the burning truck. That’s gotta be a good thing right?
By the time Full Regalia has distorted and wah wahed into the thunderous melancholy of Nobodies I am a Cherubs convert. The blend of fucked up psychedelia, No wave punk, garage rock and huuuuuge dirty riffs have got me all a quiver.
(8.5/10 Matt Mason)