Cheekface - It's Sorted


“an album that re-commits to all of Cheekface’s best qualities” – Paste Magazine (9/10)

Needle Drop: interview / review 

Exclaim!: Interview 

Stereogum: Album Announce 

KEXP: session

Cheekface’s 2022 LP, Too Much To Ask, was a left field success, landing on The Needle Drop’s year-end list, #2 on the non-commercial radio chart, and sold-out shows all over the US, Canada, and the UK. For a band of resolutely independent indie rock lifers, with no label or manager, every accomplishment is a shock and surprise to everyone–including the band themselves; although maybe not so much to their devoted fanbase of self-proclaimed Cheek Freaks.

It’s against this backdrop that Cheekface goes into It’s Sorted, a new wave masterpiece from the Los Angeles trio out everywhere Monday January 22.

In the words of guitarist and vocalist Greg Katz, who co-writes the songs with bassist Amanda Tannen, “above all, It’s Sorted asks one main question, which is: am I a unique creative person forced to live on a capitalist hamster wheel where I have to pretend I’m a respectable worker bee? Or am I actually an utterly uncool and revolting weirdo who is barely concealing that fact under an ill-fitting veneer of normalcy I wear in a vain attempt to fit into this collapsing empire?”

It’s Sorted is not just the band’s most lyrically united record, it’s also the band’s most cohesive sonic statement yet.

Yes, Cheekface is still extremely adept at writing a catchy hook, and they happen early and often on this album. And yes, they stand on the shoulders of the (they might be) giants of their genre – Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, Pavement, Lou Reed – synthesizing these influences as well as they ever have. But on this album, there’s also a newfound freedom in the studio for the trio of Katz, Tannen and drummer Mark “Echo” Edwards, as they invite in long instrumental breaks, a horn section, record scratches, Moog, drum loops, bongos, tri-tone samba whistle, even the occasional blastbeat.

“On the last couple records, we were reluctant to try stuff that we couldn’t replicate live. It was a habit we fell into as we realized we were reaching an audience and we didn’t want to let them down when they came to a show,” Katz says. “But with ‘It’s Sorted,’ we went in with the feeling that we should just make the album sound good for its own sake, and we’d figure out how to make it work live later. Like, maybe it’s fine if it’s a little different.”

And hey, maybe that’s the last part of the It’s Sorted story. Maybe it’s fine to be a little different, whether you’re greeting the American apocalypse as an artsy misfit, or driving off the edge of the capitalist racetrack as a latent freak. Whether you love Cheekface or have some other feeling about them, there is no question that they’re a little different.

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Pavement, Jeff Rosenstock, The Front Bottoms, Slaughter Beach Dog, Lou Reed, Cake, Talking Heads
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