May 13, 2014 - Xtra MIle
Lansing, Michigan’s Cheap Girls make yet another label debut with Famous Graves. They’ve established a sound they’re faithful to—punk-rock rhythms busied by ’90s alt-leanings—which has landed them on bills with the Hold Steady and the Gaslight Anthem. “Slow Nod” starts it off strong like a punk-rock Barenaked Ladies, with wandering vocals that could fill up a grain silo. For a trio, they explore the space on record just fine. “Splintered” is a standout, shuffling into frame with side-stepping riffs, while “Turns” breaks the predictable power-rock cycle with a sentimental acoustic note. (“Oh, it seems I’m always waiting on a connection.”) A re-recorded song from 2011’s split with Lemuria (“Pure Hate”) helps illustrate the stagnancy. Cheap Girls’ songs blur together—hell, so do their albums—but it’s something to take a deeper look at.