Review Summary: Loud, noisy, catchy, and emotional, Heroin Man is a listen that will not be forgotten any time soon
Noise rock is a very fascinating genre. Some bands play with their guitars out of tune. Other groups play disjointed and jagged riffs that make your ears bleed. Then their are the artists that drench their music in waves and waves of guitar feedback. Cherubs
were a noise rock band from the early 90’s, and the only word I can describe them with would be unlistenable.
Well, maybe that’s not the right word to describe them. As you can see by my rating, I actually quite enjoy this record. What I meant to say was unlistenable by most people’s standards.
You see, Cherubs play their music loud, and I mean loud
. So loud, in fact, that the music is extremely distorted and compressed. The bass and guitars clash together so much that it’s actually pretty hard to distinguish the two, and the vocals are near impossible to understand, with the occasional exception here and there. One of the best examples would be the opener track “Stag Party”, the guitars absolutely drown each other out with Kevin Whitely yelling at the top of his lungs, frosted with a sample of a telephone ring looped over and over to the point that your ears ring. This track peaks the listener’s interest; Instead of ending the record right there and leaving the room, you end up wanting to stay and hear more.
To be honest, most of these songs have that effect on you. They thrash you around with a balanced mix of intensity and catchiness so well that you cannot help but press the replay button over and over again. This is evident by “Baby Huey”; after a hypnotic drum loop grabs your attention, the guitar (or bass) throws you off guard with an insanely catchy riff and Brent Pager’s energetic drumming leaves the listener’s instinct to bash their hands on something completely satisfied. There are, of course, a few issues with the record, manely the vocals. Whitely’s vocals get very, well, annoying after a while. You can really hear the strain in his voice whenever he tries to hit high notes, as evident by “Venus Flytrap”. However, there’s just not enough negatives to outweigh the positive. Each track is either heavy, catchy, or both. Heroin Man
is a strong and solid album that will leave you on the edge of your seat every time you listen, highly recommen-Oh! But how could I forget to mention the most important detail about this album?
You see, around the time production for this record first started, Dave DeLuna, a close friend of the band, passed away due to a heroin overdose. It was, of course, an awful event for Kevin Whitley, Owen McMahon, and Brent Pager. So, to honor Dave, they dedicated this record to him and written most of the tracks about him and his passing. It has been 20 years since his passing -more or less, and after listening to this album, I’ve concluded that Dave must of been a really great guy in order for the Cherubs to write such a wonderful record like Heroin Man.