Born in the apartments of a Brooklyn music venue where most of them were staying, Cende brings together Porches drummer Cameron Wisch, LVL UP drummer Greg Rutkin, guitarist Dave Medina, and bass player Bernard Casserly. With Wisch and Medina acting as main songwriters and Wisch singing lead, they put out an eponymous EP as Cende in 2016. A year later, wielding the title #1 Hit Single, their full-length debut finds a young band sounding fully formed. Rather than seeming to ride a musical trend or resurrect a beloved style (the group formed after members discovered a shared fondness for punk band the Marked Men), they seem to cull from the best of the broader category of melodic rock spanning the '60s to the 2010s. Whether or not entirely by design, they meld bright group harmonies, power pop anthems, lo-fi ricketiness, arena drama, and a dash of New York garage revival into a cathartic swirl of sweet, structured impulsiveness. Wistful standout track "What I Want" features melodic guitar riffs, handclaps, a soaring melody, strings, and -- with drums temporarily dropping down to the clink of a tambourine as if to make room -- guest vocals from indie pop sweetheart Frankie Cosmos. She and Wisch trade vocals until they come together in the final chorus, having each decided "what I want doesn't amount." The more spirited "Don't Want To" rides along brisk drums, rollicking bass, and noodling guitar lines, though lyrics still doubt and dread ("I crave a fate much more than all I could think up"). That song blasts by in about 90 seconds, and with an even shorter instrumental punk interlude ("Good Crime") amidst the track list, the record flies by, too, with eight tunes clocking in at just 22 minutes. If the plan was to make an impression and leave 'em wanting more, #1 Hit Single delivers.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson