Cheem - Guilty Pleasure Music Album Reviews

Cheem - Guilty Pleasure Music Album Reviews
The Hartford, Connecticut five-piece repurpose what many consider the worst parts of 2000s scene culture and rap-rock into a 22-minute ode to unpretentiousness.

Over the past few years, ’00s Hot Topic bands defined by earnest melodrama have caught a second wind and influenced a new crop of stars. For every reappraisal, though, there’s a dozen acts from that era whose musical maximalism and kitschy aesthetics still feel cold to the touch—at least, to most everyone but Cheem. On their new album Guilty Pleasure, the pop-rock five-piece couldn’t be more proud to reclaim their aughts touchstones. The album is an indulgent sundae of sugary harmonies, mall-punk choruses, turntable scratches, and electro-pop beats—like A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out if Hellogoodbye and 311 were featured artists. When you lean on subgenres and stylistic choices widely regarded as cheesy, the project you started for fun quickly becomes the hand that puts the “Kick me” sign on your back. “Critics slam your favorites/Change your mind ’cause you feel like you have to,” Sam Nazaretian complains on “Cheem Szn,” taking comfort in making an argument for unpretentious self-expression in itself.

Formed in 2013 in the backyards of Hartford, Connecticut, Cheem got their start churning out glittery, polished math rock. But where albums like 2017’s Downhill flirted with emo, Guilty Pleasure has a bone to pick with the state of rock music at large. “We tried to make a tape to end it all/But everywhere they still compare us to American Football,” Nazaretian sings on “Mango.” Hence Guilty Pleasure’s chaotic onslaught of genres, few of which have ever scanned as cool—neither during their heyday nor in the present. Cheem aim to get louder and weirder, boosting your mood with the music that defined their childhoods. They’re not trolling, and there’s none of the irony of fellow sensory-overload acts like 100 gecs or Death Grips. Cheem want to detonate the concept of “guilty pleasures” by fully embracing “pleasure.”

Since their inception, Cheem have split vocal duties between two primary singers—a decision modeled after the catchy harmonies of Blink-182 and Barenaked Ladies. With Nazaretian and guitarist Skye Holden holding down vocal melodies, the rest of the band has space to peel off in any direction they choose. “Virtual Boy” brings in glitchy synths, crunchy guitar riffs, and double bass drum kicks while vocoder solos warble in the distance. On “Mango,” a dub rhythm section grounds ska upstrokes, a rap verse, and dueling shouts lifted from hardcore punk. They don’t stick the landing on every style. Even the most nostalgic listener may grimace at the rap-rock verses shouting out Kenny G and Kero Kero Bonito or the dated squeaks of turntable scratches. Experiments aside, the songs on Guilty Pleasure always boast an undeniable hook, aided by hyper-clean production from the band’s own guitarist Gabe Weitzman and mastering by longtime scene veteran Kris Crummett. “Clueless” best illustrates this balance: It sounds like Limp Bizkit, if they decided to lighten their angst with some minor-key falsettos and a few twinkly math-rock runs.

And yet, the most obvious reference points are often the most accurate. Cheem channel early Panic! At the Disco in scope and ambition, and Nazaretian’s vocals are a cross of Brendon Urie and Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, singers whose precise pitch and smooth delivery lent a reputable technique to their bands. Listen to the first 15 seconds of “Snag” and it’s impossible to miss. Contrary to the knee-jerk reaction those names might prompt, Cheem make the comparison seem like high praise—a reminder that Urie’s classical training eventually landed him on Broadway. The voices of these singers—particularly their falsetto range and theatrical showmanship—helped their punk bands ascend to the level of pop stars. Nearly two decades later, Cheem return to that same blend of styles with no hope for commercial success or mainstream fame. Instead, Guilty Pleasure is the sound of taking risks in the name of good fun.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Cheem - Guilty Pleasure Music Album Reviews Cheem - Guilty Pleasure Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, September 13, 2022 Rating: 5

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