The Cherry Tempo – Self-Titled

The Cherry Tempo

In today’s day and age, everyone and their little sister can make an album. It can be seen as a curse with the scene being flooded with some the worst and strangest music anyone could’ve imagined – but at the same time there are so many records popping up that deserve to be heard and in another time, may never have been made. Recorded in a weekend and then mixed on lead-singer Javier Romero’s home computer, the self-titled debut from New Mexico’s Cherry Tempo has become a reality for this quartet. While this album may not be the epitome of indie-pop perfection, with some areas of confusion like the last half of “City Squares” with it’s out of tune guitars, but it is certainly worth giving a listen and perhaps you may find something you like. Maybe even something you like a lot.

With Cherry Tempo originating from the birth state of The Shins, it’s probably not surprising that there are some influences, mostly from the Chutes Too Narrow time as opposed to their earlier, more docile days. The energy heard all throughout The Shins’ 2003 release is the same upbeat and catchy virus that can be caught at nearly any point within this debut. With jangly guitars, upbeat drums, keyboards and even the occasional synthesizer, this group seems to be on to something. Although, I could do without the unnecessary electronic opener and closer since they don’t do anything to add to the quality of the album.

The album starts out with a simple electronic beat I’m sure comes standard with any keyboard. And in those 10 seconds, it’s easy to have second thoughts about the album. But then, before you can act on that thought the ridiculously catchy rhythm, guitars and vocals explode onto the scene with “Wake Up! Gertrude Stein.” This is an infectious pop tune that you will have trouble getting out of your head with its simple yet energetic nature.

Next, “Treble Is High” enters with an interesting song that has some influences from Modest Mouse – in addition to what could be identified from the first track’s electronic opening with hand claps. The MM style shrieking during the chorus seem out of place, although I have to admit they started to grow on me after a few listens, but the guitar influences are well integrated and work well to keep the song moving at a nice page. About a minute and a half into the track, the tempo slows and the vocals become more breathy before the electronic beat leaks back in and the song really seems to find just the combination of guitar, electronics and rolling drums.

“All Our Lives Are Running Down” seems like it easily could’ve been heard onChutes Too Narrow, but with less jangly guitars, and continues on with the energy established immediately in the opening track. Although the jangle shows up on “Slow Slow Fandango” which is a slower track that has Romero’s unabashed vocals sounding very raw. Another more docile tune is “Of Ghosts, Keepsakes” that channels more of a 60’s style influence and is a nice change – although Romero sounds like he’s beginning to lose his voice, which gets more and more hoarse towards the end.

“In Hindsight I Know” closes the album with a mid-tempo tune that has breathy vocals riding along on electronic waves. Although the electronic “Outro” feels more like a bad 90’s dance remix and kills the song completely. It’s unfortunate that this is the note the band ends on. Luckily for them, they have some tracks that are catchy enough for the listener to remember them, even after their ears have been assaulted with the last two minutes of the album. So this may not be one of those amazing, intelligently crafted albums that will go down as an instant classic, but there are certainly some songs that display a talented band that, if they were to further hone there style, could certainly do something interesting.