Album Review :: Cheekface :: Emphatically No.

by Daniel Kussy

“I’m bringing crying back” might be a phrase most of us have contemplated tweeting late at night this past year. A forgivable sentiment given the slow burn of defeat from every corner of the news. “Let’s see what chaos visited humanity today while I was on vacation” sings Greg Katz on “Original Composition,” an acceptance, along with a shrug, that the world is seemingly ending that will only resonate a bit too strongly. This track is only a chapter of an unofficial 2020 handbook called Emphatically No., the second full length from Los Angeles garage-rock trio Cheekface.

Never ending one-liners are a staple of Cheekface. Themes of exhausting political discourse, managing mental health and half-smiled optimism are wrapped neatly within the band’s clean boppy indie-rock sound. Katz’s talkie vocals are consistently tongue-in-cheek, yet also reassuring while rambling about the issues that surround him that are more relatable than most would like to admit. “I’m getting a Gucci logo stick-n-poke, it’s cheaper than therapy!” Shouts Katz with content before launching into one of the catchiest choruses on “Best Life.”

The more listens given to this album, the more I imagine an eventful time seeing this group perform. With the current climate of the music industry, waiting for the rest of the world to get the ball rolling in order to chase it, Emphatically No. is more than enough fodder for live-music imagination.

For fans of: Vampire Weekend, Pavement, Jeff Rosenstock

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