Cheer Accident – Here Comes The Sunset (SkinGraft Records) – Disclaimer: Don’t read this review, just wait for the album, this review is full of spoilers, under no circumstances should you read on. A first listen to the new album then, Cheer Accident can do this kind of thing, Cheer Accident can do what ever the hell they want, well that seems to have been their attitude along the way (got to love their attitude). The third track, a thing called Dream Police sounds like classic 70’s glam pop powered by Bowie or Zappa and hang on, I know this song don’t I? A Cheer Accident pop song? Well until they give the game away with a middle bit that could only them – but of course it isn’t them, they tried to cover a pop song and, hang on, their version of a relatively “normal” song has gone all prog rock nutzoid on us now and not just that little bit nuts in the middle like the original does. Cheer Accident have never been a band who will fall into a rut (unless they want to of course, unless they want to hold the same repeated note for eleven endless minutes and pull is into a rut of their choosing, that certainly isn’t beyond them). We shouldn’t be telling you any this of course, I did tell you not to read this review. This is a massive massive spoiler, it will drive you insane, like those men inside your brain, you need to listen to the album with no idea whatsoever in terms of where they’re going to take you or indeed take the Dream Police that live inside their heads. What do you take me for anyway? A far from cheap trick, better than the brilliant original obviously. Could Cheer Accident covering Cheap Trick be the greatest thing to happen ever in the history of all things that ever happened? Dial it up or what? Crank up the prog! Great ending. And here comes the sunset and this bit here and this is one of those times when Cheer Accident get all weird art rock on us (again) and trumpets and jazz rock and properly utterly progressive and glorious and film soundtrack and wow!
The album opens with a delicious piece of experimentalism, the stranger side of Cheer Accident, a stabbing of a song called Star Vehicle (4 Flats), a piece of music that goes way out on their left-field, listening to it in isolation will tell you very little if you’re new to the band, it is typically untypical – if you already know the band then it will tell you Cheer Accident are on good form, it is an excellent start. They follow it with a mellow jazzy kind of easy on the ear thing, Maison de Velours Écureuil, a lulling you in kind of instrumental tune? But this is Cheer Accident you know you can’t relax, there’s a pay off coming, we didn’t expect it to be a glorious version of Dream Police though! Bloody hell, they’ve done it again. Do we have yet another to throw in to the which is the best Cheer Accident album debate? is this yet another is this the best album they’ve ever made situation? The Chicago prog rock legends do keep on doing this album after album, And then again there’s Then Again, just wow wow wow! Seven progressively experimental minutes of properly proper progressive prog to close the seven track album with thrilling style, those bits there really do slash and that bit pecks and that bit scratches at far more than the surface and they put it all together so so well. And in between that mellow second track and the shock of Dream Police and that outrageous middle bit, and that closing piece of experimental goodness they’ve packed in everything you could possibly want from a so called prog rock band.
Here Comes The Sunset is everything that so called prog rock these days isn’t, this Chicago band are the antidote to all that tediously polite neo-prog, all that Dream Theatre Porcupine Tree politeness that passes for Progressive Rock these days, all that conservative non adventure that the glossy prog rock magazines champion while ignoring the finest prog band out there right now. The title track itself is beautiful, a warm piece of composition, and yes those bits do sound like mid 70’s Yes, Genesis or King Crimson without ever obviously sounding like any of them or indeed like anyone else – Cheer Accident are a band with their own fingerprint. They can bite when you’re least expecting, but then if you know them you already know that – investigation is surely required if you don’t? Oh wow, listen to that bit, that bit there, that bit is classic Cheer Accident, that bit there in Then Again is as good as, and i don’t say this lightly, anything that emerged in the 70’s. Cheer Accident are a fascinating band, they have a glorious back catalogue. twenty off albums, others have rightly said they are “the quintessential Chicago post-rock band… a higher-brow variety of avant-rock” and yes they are all that, they do cover “ground as diverse as falsetto vocal vignettes, orchestral dissonant horn lines, cubist piano compositions, ambient cinematic excursions, noise collages, free-form freakouts” and yes there’s hint of all that here on this latest album but there are essentially a proper progressive rock band in all proper senses of the term, they are once again pushing the boundaries, they are once again thrilling us with their almost outrageous moves, they’re being as obtuse as ever, is the Sunset really coming? Cheer Accident’s unending series of endings? “Join us for a gloriously dismal time as Cheer-Accident’s constitution collapses upon itself once again. You CAN go wrong listening to this. You can go exactly this wrong”, oh look, if you already know then you know, if you don’t then you really should. Here Comes The Sunset is as good as anything they’ve done and everything Cheer Accident done has been rather good. (sw)
Here Comes The Sunset is out on SkinGraft Records of February 18th, more details via Bandcamp