Just as soon as the opening chords of Cheats’ “Crash” kicks in, you start to get the sense that the band’s self-titled debut record is all kinds of special. “Crash” has ‘indie rock classic’ written all over it, with its catchy melodies, brilliant guitar-work and choruses worthy of sing-alongs. By the time vocalists Candy Gamos and Saab Magalona-Bacarro sing the lines “By the way you’re going down”, you’ll be shouting along with them. It pretty much sets the tone for the proceedings, and is a great way to open the record.
The following tracks, “Newspaper Girl” and “Headfoam”, tone things down a bit and pushes the collective’s penchant for melodies and arrangement to the forefront before going back to the upbeat indie rock hinted at on the first track with songs like “Eye”, “Acumen” and “Sleepist”. With these three songs, the band took the Broken Social Scene comparisons and ran with it, making something that sounds familiar completely their own. And that’s what I love most about Cheats: the songs are earnest and sincere. None of it is a put on, and it shows especially when you watch them perform these songs live.
“Sleepist” is followed by the aptly-titled “Summer”, with its breezy instrumentation and beautiful harmonies. It is probably one of my favorite tracks from the record, and has been a personal favorite since I heard them play this song live. While I have rambled on and on about the band’s talent in crafting gorgeous melodies and harmonies, “Triple Horn” shows that the band’s instrumentalists aren’t anything to sneer at either. Jim Bacarro, Ernest Aguila, Mau Torralba, Manny Tanglao, and Enzo Hermosa are great musicians and to hear them play music together is, for lack of a better term, awe-inspiring.
The record ends with the band’s two recent singles: “Accidents” and “Again, Professor Manny?” In a way, Cheats’ self-titled debut ended the same way it began… with some catchy indie rock that is something I am admittedly a fan of. As far as debut records go, it’s not only one of the best I’ve heard this year but it’s also the perfect calling card for a band like Cheats because of how consistent it is. Aside from being great songwriters and musicians, Cheats also have a clear vision of what they want to do musically.
Watch them at one of their shows and buy a copy of the record. I promise you will not be disappointed.