By Jeffery McNulty
This is something I never thought I’d get a chance to say: Cherubs have a new album out! Cherubs!
Let me wax nostalgic for a paragraph or two: in the late 80’s early 90’s there was a dearth of kick ass noisy bands like Sonic Youth and Butthole Surfers (throw Melvins in there too if you want, back then it was considered passé to have a ‘the’ in front of your name) but to the hardcore it went even deeper, if you had asked me I’d have probably said my favorite bands were the crazy ones, the ones normal people couldn’t fathom, like Big Black, Pain Teens, Scratch Acid, Killdozer and of course Cherubs. Suffice it to say Cherubs Icing was on strict rotation soon as it came out. Non-stop.
My friends and I were always on the lookout for new stuff from Austin, and especially from Trance Syndicate, King Coffey from the Surfers label. (If I could go back in time I would go to Emo’s numerous times and see all the greats.) Still, we caught these bands any time they came through town and I’m pretty sure I saw Cherubs twice. They are still in my top ten loudest bands list.
Cherubs started in 1992 when a former drummer of Ed Hall, Kevin Whitley, started playing guitar and joined up with bassist Owen McMahon, and drummer Brent Prager. During their short career they only put out the gritty Icing and followed that up with the, to my mind, slightly less stellar, although much lauded Heroine Man, which was released posthumously (The dudes broke up when two of them got in a fist fight after a show.) Their 7″ split with FuckEmos is amazing! Both bands covered the same song and they played at the same time, one band on the right speaker, the other band out the left. I’m assuming that was re-released on the 1996 rarities comp Short of Popular, which I am about to hunt down!
Now hit the FFW button for 20 years and here we are with their newest effort. And it’s no slouch, this thing rocks in every conceivable way. But 2 YNFYNYTY is not a complete surprise; the band reformed in 2014, after a tribute compilation titled Everyone’s Dead Before They Leave: A Tribute to the Cherubs was released through Unfortunate Miracle Records in 2013. Cherubs have obviously building their cult following unbeknownst to them for most of the time.
2 YNFYNYTY is just as raw and heavy as anything Cherubs has ever done and there are even a few, well not mellow songs but slower ones, “Cumulo Nimbus” even seems to have a Beatles Revolver feel to it. My very favorite song is “We Buy Gold” a straight up catchy ass kicker. The vocals are distorted and buried for the most part among the super fuzzed out guitars and rat-pedal bass. The drums are captured and mixed perfectly by producer Mike McCarthy. Their trademark irreverent sense of humor is in evidence everywhere including the title of the album.
Speaking of vocals, not since Rush has there ever been a more divisive voice than Kevin’s; you just have to accept his insane caterwauling and let it sink in that, like Geddy, he CAN sing. And if you can’t handle it then that’s more ‘pink icing’ for me! And I’m not the only one: word of this release on vinyl caught fire and they sold out of the 1st pressing. Brutal Panda is the right record label for this band as they are an obvious precursor to label mates Whores and Fight Amp, among others.
This is legendary stuff from a band that burned hot and fast and I’ve already heard talk of a follow up. I guess if the Sonics can do it in their seventies there is hope for all us aging noise rockers yet!
Now if we could just coax Star Pimp out of retirement…