by Keegan King
I don’t know about you but when I saw that they were making a Suicide Squad movie a few years ago, I was incredibly excited at the idea of seeing an on screen portrayal of one of my favorite female comic characters. The current character arcs show her as a strong, independent character who owns her sexuality, and works through extremely intense PTSD due to coming out of an abusive relationship with a psychopath. I was elated at the idea of seeing the idea of the “manic pixie dream girl” get turned on its ear and to have a powerhouse like Harley Quinn subvert the expectations.
However, after seeing the film, it turned out to be just another movie where a potentially interesting female character is treated like crap by an awful dude and its okay because “she’s craaaaaazy” or “well, she loves him and that’s just the way he is, she knows what she’s getting in to” …ugh.
I’m not sure I enjoy defaulting to calling out “the male gaze” in film, but its obvious what happened here. We came for Harley and we got 50 Shades of Problematic Patriarchal Bullshit instead.
What I’m saying is: I really wanted to like this album, but it was ultimately a letdown overall.
“Apocalipstick” starts strong from a music standpoint; the band makes use of their limited instruments to create some pretty compelling riffs and melodies, dancing somewhere between punk’s three chord structure layered over 80s synth-pop with a small dusting of psychedelics. If you can picture what The Runanways would write if they were stuck in a van with nothing but a bunch of mushrooms and a copy of Devo’s album “Shout” on repeat. Repeat being the operative word here.
While the album starts out pretty strong, the band tends to us a lot of the same musical themes which makes each track sound a little too similar for their own good. This issue is exacerbated by the layered and over dubbed vocal tracks that wash out the lyrics on pretty much every song. While I appreciate the lyrics that I was able to understand, the content seems a little lackluster on the majority of the tracks.
All that being said, I do want to make special mention of the songs “Nuclear Bomb” and “Sip O’Poison”. Despite all of my, fairly negative, reactions to this album: these songs hit on some particularly strong themes and emotions, and my hope is that Cherry Glazerr hits us with more tracks like these ones.
“Nuclear Bomb” seems to capture the feeling of someone entering your life with all the subtlety of a brick to the forehead. The song manages to avoid being directly about a specific type of relationship and instead focuses on the hurricanes that some people cause in our lives. Its a musical and lyrical oasis on this album, and definitely worth checking out.
“Sip O’ Poison” might be a song I’m reading too much into, but it seems to involve the themes of being slipped something at a party. Though, if I was really digging in to it, it almost seems to be making references to GHB and Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Mask of the Red Death”.
The Verdict: I’m not sure who I could recommend this album to, in all honesty. I can hear the bones of a modern day riot grrl creaking under the over production, but its hard to ignore the overall blandness of the songs and the lack of teeth in the content. It’s like punk rock that’s been made safe for the 20-somethings who want to go to shows covered in studs, wearing combat boots, and spiking their hair up; but then post the whole thing on Instagram from the safety of the nearest artisan bakery.
I think I would suggest this to teens who want to get a gateway into rebellion. However, I would suggest that once you’ve finished with it move on to Tsunami Bomb, Bikini Kill, and/or Pussy Riot.
In short, this album is like sitting in a Prius that smells like clove cigarettes and cheap beer.
The Score: 4/10