Cheem
Downhill


4.5
superb

Review

by verdant CONTRIBUTOR (66 Reviews)
October 22nd, 2017 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: mistakes and ladders

This album is so straightforward in its intentions that, ironically, I’m at a loss for how to summarise it in as many words. How about a summer album for people who don’t like summer" Or, take it a rung higher: consider the title of Cheem’s sophomore record, Downhill, to be a carefree epigram and not a pessimistic one; a deliberate tumble down the slope in opposition to being pushed off steady footing. I have plenty of dumb questions for this album, to which I’m sure it would only give me the childish answers I deserve. But, in the interest of clarity, I’d ask how it manages to glow in the aftermath of a difficult episode, why the lyrics -- often permeated by a certain fear and/or anxiety -- are so consistently pitted against the most buoyant instrumentals I’ve heard this year, and where I can sign up to be a part of the intoxicating vocal interplay that litters Cheem’s oeuvre.

Sometimes, as is with Downhill, music skips pretence and endeavours only to have/elicit a good time. Every other consequence is a side-effect -- the relatability, the bite-sized nuggets of emotional profundity, and the overarching atmospheres are slowly unveiled only in the middle of a singalong. How about busy music to daydream to" Game Boy Color is constructed from the ground up by employing fidgety guitar lick after fidgety guitar lick, with dual vocals running parallel to the chaos as if realising: "the song’s almost over, so we may as well have fun with it while it’s here." It’s only until, like, the tenth listen that you realise it’s about broken connections and apprehension, and the band themselves -- I imagine -- have to remind themselves of the fact, as they catch themselves smiling so hard it reaches their eyes. Even the most explicit declaration on the whole album: “I think I’m getting better”, is so fragile it may as well come with a question mark, a stipulation or two; but it’s a question the affirming tonal shift seems to answer -- the song turning suddenly on its heel from brittle to determined with just a chord progression to signify the difference. Listening to it passively is a wonderful time; listening to it ruminatively is a fulfilling one.

I’m having an equal amount of trouble trying to work out why I’ve fallen so closely in step with an alt-rock/emo album that, upon initial inspections, is just like every other alt-rock/emo album released this decade. It’s intricate, heartfelt, convivial -- in the same vein as your People Like Yous and your Dryjackets and your Their / They’re / Theres, but I think its resolve is stronger; it explicitly outlines its concerns and then implicitly implores you not to worry about them. I realise that I’m appraising this record when I should be flailing my limbs to it, but I think my guilty conscience is mollified somewhat by that scene playing in my head -- where the band stop themselves, mid-jam, and dwell in that split second of understanding: "never have we had so much fun with our own neuroses".

How about the least emo Emo record you've never heard"



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user ratings (9)
Chart.
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
verdant
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2017


1879 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

superfuntimepartytimegoodtime read my shit thanks!!!

BlushfulHippocrene
October 22nd 2017


2017 Comments


Fantastic review as always, Jack, and this is a load of fun.

Digging: Julien Baker - Turn Out The Lights

cryptologous
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2017


1817 Comments


omg omg omg this is love

ianblxdsoe
October 22nd 2017


1364 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

great review as usual man fuck

Frivolous
October 22nd 2017


353 Comments


nice

i need to check this band from "connecticut" it seems

Digging: James Holden and The Animal Spirits - The Animal Spirits

AsleepInTheBack
October 22nd 2017


5128 Comments


lovely work as per jack.
this sounds wonderful and utterly my sort of thing

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2017


1879 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

pals!

clavier
October 22nd 2017


455 Comments


didn't realise you had a new one out jack, beautiful writing here (I love the first paragraph especially)

Dylan620
October 22nd 2017


3725 Comments


One of my buddies is friends with members of this band

Digging: Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2017


1879 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lucky

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2017


19703 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ahhhh love this whimsical tone, and from the 3-4 tracks ive heard off this I think I'll love it as much as ya.

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2017


1879 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

https://www.facebook.com/cheemtheband/ hey cone have a quick look at the facebook page would ya [[thx < 3]]

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2017


19703 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ahh nice dude well deserved

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2017


19703 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hahaah yes i knew i'd love this

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2017


19703 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Monster Gorp jams way too hard. adore Game Boy Color and Paint's lyrics as well

AsleepInTheBack
October 23rd 2017


5128 Comments


aw man, so awesome that band put this up on their fb.

oodlesofnoodles
October 23rd 2017


58 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hell yeah, cheem rules! I saw them open for Remo Drive like a month ago, they're a lot of fun on stage. Glad to hear this is good, can't wait to check it out

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2017


10884 Comments


This is such a wonderful review, well done jack. Sounds like this is at least worth a shot, I could do with something summery.

Digging: Toska (IS) - Toska

stuck_in_decades
October 24th 2017


722 Comments


Cool to see this get some attention here.

oodlesofnoodles
October 25th 2017


58 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've been listening to this for the past few days now, I like it! Room for improvement, but I like a lot of the stuff they're going for here. It's got a lot more of a pop-punk vibe than I was thinking based off their live show.



Pretty much spot-on with the review, totally agree with your conclusion.



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