CHEAP TIME: Self-titled: CD

I like Cheap Time. That’s something a lot of motherfuckers thought I wouldn’t say—like I constitutionally couldn’t stomach the whole genre of power pop. I DON’T NEED ALEX CHILTON’S “LIKE FLIES ON SHERBET” OR REED’S BERLIN TO MAKE ME FEEL LIKE A WINNER! Nevertheless, there’s something to that claim—that I hate power pop. And it has to do with the completely vapid bands celebrating the style in the last five years… like when everyone was making the transition from post punk to power pop overnight. Joy Division records traded in for Nick Lowe buttons and The Boys T-shirts. It felt insincere—like Reagan denying rumors that he hated the working poor—and ill-fitting—like Mike Dukakis posing in a tank. So where does Cheap Time fit in? In the small minority of bands/people with a genuine interest in power pop as a means of communicating some sort of idea—not an end in itself (playing an abused genre) but as a means to an end—a contribution to songwriting with the added joys of power pop. Cheap Time’s got great lyrics; the opener has this great play on words about being late… I can’t understand half the lyrics, but the gist is great. The guitar work on the record varies at times—like really ‘81 The Cars kind of shit and then controlled noise—similar to the joys of Wire’s second and third record. And there’s just this really sophomoric reliance on Roxy Music’s self-titled record. But, I mean, it’s not like Cheap Time borrows equitably from Ferry and Eno’s masterpiece—a little from “2HB,” a line from “Would You Believe?” The kids straight rip-off the breaks of “VirginiaPlain” relentlessly—not to mention a strong reliance on Graham Simpson’s (wherever the fuck you are, glam rock Pete Best) bass work on the song. It’s unbelievably endearing and really quite funny—I fucking started laughing outloud when I heard it! This debut record proves that Cheap Time is loaded with promise… another strong outing from In the Red (after a hiccup or two)—a record label that refuses to give into the vast sea of mediocre music. (Be on the lookout for an upcoming Black Time record. As bona fide as Namella J. Kim.)  –ryan (In the Red, www.intheredrecords.com)