Cherry Glazerr

Stuffed & Ready

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The winding path of Cherry Glazerr's evolution began with bandleader Clementine Creevy writing strange and often juvenile songs as a teenager and just several years later had moved through phases of quirky garage grunge to arrive at the cold, polished sheen of third album Stuffed & Ready. Always centered around Creevy's increasingly dark musings, each album has upped production and more accurately dialed in a re-creation of '90s grunge angst. The muscular power chords and hyperconfident thrust of 2017's Apocalipstick were a far cry from the spooky songs about grilled cheese sandwiches and house pets that the band started out with, and Stuffed & Ready pushes further in the direction of '90s-modelled loud-soft alt-rock. Nowhere near the garage punk outbursts or naïve pondering that earlier versions of Cherry Glazerr reveled in, the ten songs here use gloomy guitar blasts and mid-tempo rhythmic attacks as a steady framework for the distant, angular moods of Creevy's songs. The tracks that stray most from this formula are the most interesting. "Daddi" laces its eerie verses with synth arpeggios, ticking drum machine hi-hats, and manipulated vocal samples, with Creevy's ghostly vocals recalling early Blonde Redhead before exploding into huge choruses. Similarly, "Self-Explained" slinks along, leaving enough dynamic space for its spooky sound effects and self-conscious lyrical themes to stand out. "Wasted Nun" and "Juicy Socks" are well built with barbed-wire vocal hooks that are equal parts Creevy's uniquely slanted songwriting and faithful grunge worship. While these are some great moments, much of Stuffed & Ready blurs to the point of interchangeability. Themes of isolation, uncertainty, and societal anger run throughout the album, but often what could be connective statements are buried beneath predictable and overused songwriting choices. As the album goes on, melodies and song structures feel recycled, and a limited emotional range begins to show. The surgical production doesn't add any humanity or depth to a sound that's reaching for both, and songs that could have revealed vulnerability or complex feelings just come off as trite. While the best material here represents stylistic evolution or at least enhancement of the best parts of Cherry Glazerr's recent sound, Stuffed & Ready as a whole spoils quickly, fizzling from righteous anthems of anger and self-questioning into monotonous and self-absorbed alt-rock rewrites.

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