Cheer-Accident are a Chicago based alternative rock band with more than 3 decades of track experience giving audiences a more inventive musical experience. They have earned a respected legacy accordingly, yet there are several among us, like myself, who only had the privilege of hearing them for the first time just a few months ago. Therefore I see no harm in respectfully putting their lengthy (and trust me, it really is lengthy) discography to one side and treating this album as a first introduction to the band.
It’s hard to pinpoint which direction this album will take you when you listen to the opening moments of first track “Done”. You are almost led to think that there is an 80s synth pop thing going on and you would probably be right. But the truth is, during the 10 song course of this album, you are taken in a hell of a lot of different directions. You will hear slices of jazz, psychedelic 70s rock, prog, electronica and more, all stirred up in a soup of both the ancient and the modern. In any case, with each passing track, my enjoyment is cemented further, as well as my admiration for Cheer-Accident in general.
Although the often dainty measure of heaviness in their rock isn’t something which appeals to me personally, there are several moments in the album which I do really enjoy, like that brass laden climax of “The Mind Body Experience”. I also love the eerie guitar sounds on “Monsters”. This particular song is entertainingly macabre, carried by a steady, energetic tempo and some nice beefy bass. By now, I get the impression that on top of their already rich stockpile of influences, the band are also punky at their core, but glossed with a progressive overlay.
And I feel that my suspicions are confirmed in the next track, “I’m Just Afraid”, which features some rather amazing vocals. And so manifests an impressive replay factor to this album. It’s impossible to write off a product as layered as Fades in the space of one sitting because you will find more to behold once you go back. This resulting sense of perspective will help you to appreciate moments like the quickening drumbeats of “Trying to Comfort Mary” that much more.
Following this comes another great highlight, and something of a Frank Zappa-inspired rock ballad, in the form of “Art-land”. This new sense of unhinged abandonment seems to continue for a few tracks. There is some great cataclysmic riffage and singing on “Last But Not Lost”, which leads us to the humorously intense “House of Dowse”, where all the trumpet and guitar elements you have heard throughout this album suddenly come to a rowdy climax. But then the album arrives at a gentle resolve in the extremely Pink Floyd– eqsue “Caboose”, which is then followed by the decidedly cheery finale “Do I”.
Through its sense of rawness, you really get to understand how good the band’s sound production really is. But their songwriting is the most striking element. The vocals, guitar work and everything in between render this record a really original and interesting piece of work. Fades displays an undying zest for inventiveness and excitement, which has clearly been the core of Cheer-Accident‘s musical personality since their humble beginnings. The long term fans will surely find no disappointment in their new release and newcomers who enjoy the merits of Fades have several banquets of Cheer-Accident retrospect to sink their teeth into. So thanks to them for making it a win-win situation either way.
Notable Tracks: “The Mind Body Experience”; “Monsters”; “Art Land”
FFO: Ween, Frank Zappa,Lovely Little Girls
Fades is due for release May 25th. You can hear a seismic portion of Cheer-Accident‘s current back catalog on their Spotify and Bandcamp pages. For merch and the band’s latest news, visit their Website and Facebook page. Check out the band’s Youtube channel here!