When we first started doing album reviews, I was privileged to be the person who got to review Cheap Perfume’s first album, “Nailed It.”
Now, I get the privilege of doing it again!
Cheap Perfume is one of the most unique bands in Colorado’s punk scene. No other band sounds like them vocally, musically, or lyricly; locally or nationally.
I get to listen to A LOT of music, and it’s safe to say, Cheap Perfume is in their own unique lane, and they OWN that lane!
Their new album, “Burn It Down,” is being released soon, and fans of the first album will NOT be disappointed! “Burn It Down” has the same unrelenting energy, powerful feminist protest lyrics, and brilliant display of the band’s dichotomy of personalities; presenting the singers, Jane No and Stephanie Antillon, as the two main feminine archetypes, as perceived by right-wing Christian fundamentalist culture: the housewife and the whore.
By now, it’s pretty common knowledge that all of us at CPRA are borderline geriatrics. We were all in high school in the 90’s. When I think about the 90’s, I think about all the great protest music that came out of that era. Bands like Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, and NOFX built their whole careers on protest music. Virtually every band in the 90’s had at least one protest song of one kind or another, and I think there was a silent reckoning among a lot of us Gen-Xers that the time was nigh to start picking the right side of history to be on, and to do so as vocally as possible.
When I first listened to “Burn It Down,” 17-year-old-me-from-1994 walked up and kicked me in the shins. He thought it best to remind me who the 90’s taught me to be. Then he told me, “That shit kicks MAJOR ass! You should keep listening to it!”
Then he turned his pony-tailed ass around and went away.
17-year-old-me-from-1994 had some good points to make:
1. My hair in the 90’s was stupid.
2. History WILL judge you in the long run (for a lot more than just your stupid haircut).
3. “Burn It Down” is every bit as good as “Nailed It,” and even surpasses the album in some
There are a lot of things to love about this album! Whether you’re a seasoned fan who’s been to every show, or a noob who’s just discovering the band, it’s something you’ll enjoy!
The seasoned fans will like the consistency in sound and message. Noobs will find an accurate and appropriate introduction to one of the most original and poignant bands of the modern musical era!
The album begins, as all great albums should, with a “call to arms.” The opening track, “Put the Devil to Bed,” sets the pace for the rest of the album, which is a wholly driving force that makes you feel like you’re sprinting while you’re standing still. The album is so energetic, it’s simply not possible to listen without moving (unless you have a spinal cord injury that would prevent movement; but even then, it’s potentially powerful enough to cure paralysis).
The highlight of the album, in my opinion, is a song that presents a sentiment very close to my heart. It’s a sentiment that first drew me into Punk, all those many, many, many years ago… the very heart of the SHARP (Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice) movement. The song, “It’s OK (To Punch Nazis)” is not only a fun, danceable song, but also expresses something that I’ve been saying all along… the right-wing only understands violence. These are the assholes who think that school shootings happen because kids aren’t beaten enough at home… these are the assholes who think dropping bombs is the answer to every little thing that goes wrong in the world (especially if it means bombing brown people)… these are the people who LIED us into Iraq, purely for oil profits… these are the assholes who think we should be shooting immigrants at the border…
Violence is what they know… it’s what they understand… it’s how they learn…
Notice how all their Facebook profiles say “School of Hard Knocks” listed as their “education?” There’s a reason for that. Violence is what makes sense to them.
If they think that kids act up because they’re not beaten enough, well, maybe THEY act the way they do because they haven’t been beaten enough as ADULTS!
It’s OK to punch Nazis… Captain America said so.
Right after that song comes one of the best covers I’ve heard in a long time! I honestly can’t think of anyone more appropriate than Cheap Perfume to cover Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation!” Everything about this cover is PERFECT!
I hate it when a band covers a song and makes it sound EXACTLY like the original (I’m looking at YOU, Weezer)! The best covers are when a band takes a song they LOVE (not a song they think is popular), and does it their own way, with their own voice and their own style. That’s exactly what this version is. Their version of the song is EXPERTLY reproduced!
At the end of the day, this album delivered everything I wanted from it: strong energy, powerful feminist protest lyrics, chaos, and a reminder of what the 90’s taught me. The whole thing left me happy and satisfied. I would expect nothing less than excellence from Cheap Perfume, and I got everything I was expecting!
The album will be available in physical forms at their album release shows (I’ll be at the one on November 30th), and available in digital formats on December 6th; just in time to give a copy to Mom, for the December holiday of your choosing!