ALBUM: Haxel Princess
ARTIST: Cherry Glazerr
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”