The Cheeps

Sun Dec 7

Twilight Cafe

I don't expect much from Bellingham. Do you? I mean there's Estrus Records--but what have they done for you lately? Oh yeah and, uh, back in the ol' days, Garage Shock used to keep us entertained one weekend a year. I'm not sure I ever expected a Phoenix to rise from the ashes of Bellingham, but seemingly, it has. Defying all logic, the city that always sleeps has produced The Cheeps. Like a stray bullet on its way to a hunting accident, the Cheeps' self-titled release on Slovenly Records is a rollicking dynamite enema, keeping with the band's self-proclaimed ethos: "We like to think of ourselves as a good times band."

The Cheeps have sought the good times for quite a while now, playing together for about four years. You can almost smell the resume coming off the album: "Party, Gig at the 3-B, Party, Compilation, Party, Gig at the 3-B, Short West Coast tour... " basically playing footsie until this release. Whatever Slovenly is giving their bands, however, it's working. I watched the Cheeps' labelmates, The Spits, fuck around doing the same thing--until they signed with Slovenly. It's probably something simple like creative control and/or basic support, but Slovenly is giving these bands the boost they need.

The album is fronted by the provocatively named "Leatherpants," during which The Cheeps hurl aural birthday cakes frosted with motor oil. Their sound is wound up and a little on the slop-tastic side. With all the buzzing and honking (achieved with a marriage of non-distasteful horns and guitars), at times they sound like a rampaging bull in a scrap with a hornet's nest. Tracks like "Don't Track That Shit In" and "Bees" absolutely howl. Conjuring images of weird crank-fueled NASCAR neighbors, "Watch the World Go By" and "Little Bug" feature big spooky organs and tell tales of how small Bellingham really must feel to a pack of young werewolves on the prowl for the aforementioned "good times." There is quality here in harmony with fuck-all.

With 16 songs around the magic three-minute mark, the Cheeps' debut is a full-throttled party rock juggernaut. It's raucous, danceable and brief. And most importantly, it doesn't take itself too seriously.