Cherry Glazerr are here to “spread the glaze”. The L.A. three-piece are the brainchild of renaissance woman Clementine Creevy, who’s barely out of high school but has already released two albums, dabbled in modelling and even appeared in the Amazon Prime show ‘Transparent’. The band’s origin story is familiar enough – Creevy wrote under the name ‘Clembutt’ in an attempt to bolster her growing collection of bedroom recordings, which were collated together by Californian cult label Burger Records and released as the ‘Papa Cremp’ cassette in 2013. Cherry Glazerr emerged with the follow-up, 2014’s ‘Haxel Princess’ – a slapdash collection of adolescent garage-pop. ‘Haxel Princess’ was sloppy but promising, just about managing a balancing act between odes to grilled cheese sandwiches and anthemic punk like the Bikini Kill-inflected ‘White’s Not My Colour This Evening’
‘Apocalipstick’, which is basically the first Cherry Glazerr album proper, has necessitated both a change of lineup and label. Here Creevy is supported by multi-instrumentalist Sasami Ashworth and drummer Tabor Allen, who lay a solid foundation for her noisy explorations. They’ve moved to Indiana label Secretly Canadian and enlisted the producing talents of Joe Chicarrelli (The Strokes, The White Stripes). This creative shuffle doesn’t seem to have affected Creevy’s wry sense of humour, what with the vibrant Adult Swim-esque cover and the album title suggestive of some eschatological line of beauty products.
The opener, ‘Told You I’d Be With The Guys’, is a zealous number about female solidarity. With its surging riff, sawtooth synths and Steppenwolf snarl of a chorus it’s sure to be a hit at their live shows. Similarly on second track ‘Trash People’, which Creevy called a “fun song about how I have dirty fucking habits. It’s about being road rats, nasty ass, dirty fuckers. That’s how I like to live.” The song chugs along with punchy drums and twenty-something sordidness (“My room smells like an ashtray”), while knifelike guitars complement a faux-lament about the precarious life of an artist – “We can’t live a nine-to-five”.
The shift in arrangements has, for the most part, suited Creevy’s ambitions. The grungy clamor of tracks like ‘Sip O’Poison’ are reminiscent of The Slits at their rowdiest, while ‘Nurse Rached’ alludes to the much maligned antagonist of ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ for a track that offers an irresistible interplay between scuzzy instrumentation and Creevy’s robust vocals. At the eye of the storm is ‘Nuclear Bomb’, a fuzzy dirge splashed with moments of lyrical surrealism (“all the souls are swimming in the bathtub”) and the album’s sole, palliative appearance of an acoustic guitar. The band’s fierce determination isn’t without its rough edges, though. Occasionally they lapse into bland, cookie-cutter noise-pop (on ‘Instagratification’) or vapid lyrical refrains (“Turn the heat up, oh / Margaritas, oh” on ‘Humble Pro’). This isn’t to detract from the record’s allure, the majority of which is enjoyably ragged fun. Despite the sense of transition, what’s most important here is still how they sound – and they sound like a band that’s just getting started.