Cherry Glazerr - Haxel Princess

LA-based noise pop trio Cherry Glazerr channel their youthful energy into a refreshingly genuine debut record.

Additional Info

8.2

ALBUM: Haxel Princess

ARTIST: Cherry Glazerr

2014

Alternative

Clementine Creevy was only 16 years old when she started recording songs in her bedroom under the name Clembutt. Soon after, her song “Teenage Girl” was premiered on the influential teen website Rookie Mag to widespread acclaim as its theme song of the month. And now, less than a year and a half later, her new group Cherry Glazerr has released their debut record Haxel Princess on the cultishly prestigious and prolific Burger Records. Instantly catchy with a kick of snark and an undercurrent of deeper emotion, this fantastically crafted record disproves once again the odd age old conception that a musician has to be older and experienced to make good music. This bunch of teenagers knows what they’re doing and aren’t afraid to show off this wicked talent and vision on Haxel Princess. In no time, they’ll be joining the ranks of bands that pave the way for “normal” teenagers in music and break down the notion that there’s only room for prodigal kids in the business. They’re the kind of group that’ll inspire the every-teenagers of their generation to get up and start a band.

Named after local NPR reporter Cherry Glaser, this Los-Angeles based trio got their Burger Records start with their tape release Papa Cremp. A year later, a majority of those songs made up more than half of Haxel Princess. Clocking in at under 25 minutes, it’s immediately clear that they’re really good at conveying ideas in short timescapes. In fact, it’s the longer songs that happen to lose steam by the end, like “Bloody Bandaid” (though it holds the title for the most cheesily adorable song on the record). Their hybrid brand of jangle pop and garage rock is reminiscent of Burger Records contemporaries Peach Kelli Pop and Habibi, but with an added bite coming from roots in grunge and lo-fi. Their approach is much more minimal than their grungy counterparts, but it’s still brash in the best way. And with such a smart and self-aware front woman as Creevy, they’re not far from riot-grrrl sensibilities. One thing they execute very well with this sound is a balance between somber heaviness and an air of lightness that’s punctuated with pure punk energy. It’s rolled out in effortless waves, alternated almost one for one with these light and heavy moods. The best of these is the transition between the slowly marching dirge of “Teenage Girl” into the acidic riff of “Whites Not My Color This Evening” that eventually explodes into pure punk in one of the most satisfying musical switch up on the record.

What really makes this record a winner is the incredible range of lyrical content, written and sung earnestly by Creevy. It’s not often you hear songs about silly novel concepts like grilled cheese followed by emotional odes to lost pets and angsty cute tales of teen love—all on the same record. Like the balance between cool ballads and energetically upbeat cuts on this record, the balance between the serious and the completely silly in Creevy’s lyrics gives the record such a refreshing sense of humanity. It feels like we’re getting all of her, as opposed to a single part magnified through the music, and it feels so human. We as people are all over the place emotionally—we’re sad; we like to have fun; we like food; we fall in love. And so naturally and effortlessly this batch of songs hits all those facets of our personhood. Ironically, it achieves this intense relatability by being so personal. “Glenn the Dawg” is about an old pet of Creevy’s and “Bloody Bandaid” describes a sweetly specific situation of wanting to go to shows at the Smell (an indie venue in Los Angeles) with a crush of hers. But they could easily be odes to our own lives. And I don’t think I’ve come across such plainly honest and accessible lyrics about silly crushes and emotional struggles since I first heard Best Coast. Creevy’s genuine approach to conveying her point of view as a teenage girl is so appreciated, and it’s this that makes the record stand out through the clutter. If Haxel Princess gets at least one teenage girl to start band, then that’s a success of the highest order in and of itself. And I really hope it does.

“I’m so tired of living like royalty/I don’t wanna jam in here so quietly”

1. Cry Baby
This opener rolls out like a spaghetti western with some cowboy-like whistles before it turns into a mid tempo jangle fest, Creevy’s wispy vocals carrying through the jaunt. It’s a lot of fun but a little subdued, perhaps because they’re saving their energy for the rest of the record. Still, a very strong start.8.0
2. Grilled Cheese
It’s hard to take a song with “grilled cheese, in my mouth” uttered in a slow deadpan quite seriously, but that’s totally the point. The band makes it clear that having fun is part of their agenda, executed with playfully hilarious lyrics like these. In an ironic twist of events, this song is perhaps the only one of the album in minor, but its slow guitar burn provides a sharp contrast to the hilarity of its subject.8.0
3. Haxel Princess
This is the point where they really pick up the pace and assert their direction. The muddy guitar atmosphere piqued by the grungy lo-fi vibes and breathy vocals recalls 90s indie-rock royalty like Sonic Youth and even contemporary era-revivalists like Speedy Ortiz. The gnarly guitar solo puts the icing on this solidly mature jam.9.0
4. Glenn the Dawg
This sultry ballad cools the heat with fuzzed out vocals and a surprising amount of emotional weight. Creevy conveys her heartache with the repeated line, “You were my best fucking friend.” Whoever Glenn was, we’re invited to empathize with her poignant vulnerability for a short minute and a half.8.0
5. All My Friends
Not an LCD Soundsystem cover like the title may suggest, this cut, while still slowly-paced, lifts the heavy heartache from the last track with their seeming penchant for breathy “oooooh” lines and chunky guitar chords. They also have a knack for odes, this one to their friends. “You are an alien princess, baby,” Creevy croons over the subtly played guitar, as if to acknowledge the uniqueness of the song’s subject. The wonderful balance between the personal and the universal is what makes this song—and many of their others—so relatable.8.5
6. Bloody Bandaid
This quirky cute love song has one of the most adorable narratives on the record. A slow burning jammer like “Grilled Cheese,” they stay true to writing what they know, especially about love. Early on, the line “I wanna go to shows at the Smell with you,” pops up, which paints them earnestly into the LA culture while providing a wonderful romanticized image. It’s youthful but almost borders on immature, and as the longest song on the record, it gets a little boring after a while.7.0
7. Sweaty Faces
The beginning of this number serves as the perfect transition between the slow finished of “Bloody Bandaid” and what this will become, as the slow start is changed up with a nice tempo change. There are many great elements to this song, like a cool bass solo and a cute “Woo!” at the end, but unfortunately it doesn’t really go anywhere.7.5
8. Teenage Girl
This song, which originally premiered on the esteemed Rookie Mag, was written as a theme song to the online culture magazine with a wide readership of teenage girls. And it turns out to be exactly everything it promised: a grrrl anthem for this generation. Creevy starts with a deadpan list of objects in her life, like lipstick and French fries, and then it explodes into a super jangly chorus, before it returns to the dirgey deadpan list. And even more, it completes this feat in less than two minutes. Definitely some inspiration for the masses.8.5
9. White’s Not My Color This Evening
This is the anticipated climax of the album, and such a fantastic one at that. It all starts off with an acidic jack white-esque riff, then all of a sudden, all the angst built up through the record comes to a head in an explosion of noise punk. Brash and full of jaunty tempo twists, this wickedly sweet number delivers the energy in massive quantities. It takes the cake for best track easily.9.5
10. Trick Or Treat Dancefloor
This fan favorite bookends the tail side of the record. They definitely have a lot of fun with the Halloween theme mentioned in the title, as the guitar riffs conjure some creepy carnival vibes. Burning out into a downtempo minimalist jam, this one provides a nice slow close to a record that built up to an explosion of brash energy.8.0
Written by Hailey Simpson
Now attending college at UC Berkeley, Hailey's main passions in life are attending every concert she possibly can while keeping up with her studies, drinking copious amounts of Philz Coffee, and spinning tunes on her college radio station KALX.



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