CHEAP CASSETTES, THE: All Anxious, All the Time: CD

Punk historians, take note that the aesthetic of this CD is the total embodiment of DIY self-promotion circa ten years ago. I’m talking printed paper label, WordArt drop shadows, photo collage of the band members for the insert. I swear that’s not a cheap shot—I just haven’t seen a new release like this since 2004, when they all looked just like this. Anyway, this is some heavily Costello-influenced power pop, mixed in with some New York Dolls and roughed up with a little Replacements grit. Apparently this is a long-distance project, meaning these ten songswere recorded across the span of three years and five states. I respect the perseverance it takes to keep a band from fading out under that kind of pressure, but it always seems to come at a cost. Everything sounds flattened out and forced together, and somehow it’s all too apparent that these guys probably haven’t played in the same room for years. It’s missing the kind of energy you really need to put the power in the pop, you know what I mean? 

 –Indiana Laub (Cassettes On Record)