Cherry Glazerr’s debut album Haxel Princess was a lo-fi, scrappy album full of scratchy guitars and angsty vocals from singer Clem Creevy. A casual listener could have easily (but inaccurately) deemed the band to be “cute” or “adolescent,” given the title, the subject matter and the bedroom-esque sound. As soon as you turn on their second album, Apocalipstick, and hear the opening guitar lope of ‘Told You I’d Be With The Guys’, it sounds like the band aurally bursting out of their bedroom and into ultra high-definition widescreen cinemascope. With the first yelp of Creevy’s voice, proclaiming “I was a lone wolf!” any impressions of cuteness are immediately punctured.
In hearing the huge step up in sound and scope that sings out of every track on Apocalipstick, you can see why the band made the jump from Burger Records to prestigious indie label Secretly Canadian for this album. Creevy and her band make no bones about desiring success, and have packed every song on the album with a blockbuster riff that demands attention and blasts the listener off on a ride on the back of the lipstick rocket that adorns the front cover. ‘Told You I’d Be With The Guys’ is a song about female solidarity, and with the background of swaggering guitars you can imagine Clem Creevy strutting through a party attracting the attention of many onlookers, but giving no fucks whatsoever, just oozing cool and comfort. ‘Moon Dust’ is a carnival-esque back and forth guitar thrust that is just made to cause mayhem on concert floors. The album takes a few turns into horror-inflected rock – something which suits the demonic guitar production they’ve got working strongly for them throughout. ‘Lucid Dreaming’ finds Creevy stuck in a dream from which she can’t wake, with quicksilver guitars slipping by as she can’t get a grip. ‘Sip O’Poison’ is another howitzer set to cause carnage with its pounding percussion and explosive guitar interjections. ‘Nurse Ratched’ digs up the evil character of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and brings her back into zombified life through electrified guitar lines and howling vocals.
Mid-album highlight ‘Nuclear Bomb’ is a slow burner, which includes unusually oblique lyrics from Creevy that feed into the neon-lit worry of the song (“As the swelling aches for fun / like a nuclear bomb / all the souls are swimming in the bathtub”). The low-level paranoia that the song induces is blown away by the monster synth and guitar line that ascends through the haze. Following track ‘Only Kid On The Block’ creates a couplet of “serious” tracks, once again finding Creevy desperate and she squeals “I feel light years behind / gasping for air one day at a time.” This time the devilishly winding guitars seem to be harrying and bothering our singer as she struggles through life – which only makes her exertions all the more heroic.
Just because Cherry Glazerr have upped the ante in terms of production and expansiveness, they haven’t lost any of their charm lyrically, still talking about the day to day struggles of a millennial. ‘Trash People’ is about living amidst your own waste, delivered in typically humorous lines like “We wear our underpants three days in a row / my room smells like an ashtray.” ‘Humble Pro’ is a breakneck rock’n’roll pummeler that once again smacks of youthful confidence as Creevy sings about being in the kitchen with her boyfriend and thinking about all the foods she wants to eat (“I’m a beignet lover / Hot donut, I’m covered / I’ll try not to hover / food coma / recover”).
Apocalipstick proves that Clem Creevy is a driving force and creative light that deserves plenty of attention. Despite 2/3 of the band having changed since the debut, her vision and personality is still well intact in Cherry Glazerr – in fact the signal she’s sending out is much louder and clearer than it has ever been. The title and cover of Apocalipstick sum it up perfectly: encompassing everything from the smallest quibbles of youthful existence to the largest problems facing the world today – all delivered in a slightly cartoony, extremely bombastic and hugely enjoyable package.