Suffolk five-piece The Cheek have been hanging around threatening to release their debut album for a couple of years now. Originally called Cheeky Cheeky And The Nosebleeds, they’ve gone from the ridiculous to the forgettable. Wasn’t “sublime” supposed to feature somewhere?
Unfortunately it didn’t feature tonight as the boys ended a lengthy first headline tour of the UK at the 100 Club basement bar on Oxford Street. They seem a little out of place at the top of the bill, and having provided support for various bands in the past, they don’t stand out from the crowd enough to deserve top billing.
The eight song set is packed full of punchy punky songs full of vim and energy, but they suffer from a lack of hooks and the melodies don’t quite stick. Next single Just One Night is, you know, alright, but more retro than bumping into Ocean Colour Scene in Bejams.
Nonetheless they have found themselves with a record deal with a major label and it’s easy to why the bigwigs may have thought they’d fit well with a resurgent second wave of Britpop. But that might have been a little optimistic. In fact, it’s very difficult to see how they’re going to tap into anything zeitgeisty and capture the public’s imagination when the songs all sound so dated, and don’t retain the imagination or the charm of, say, Blur or Pulp.
In Rory Cottam they have a good frontman with a decent voice, if a little nasal, and they all seem to be enjoying themselves. Cottam adds a nice touch with some witty asides throughout. “This one is about crying,” he says, before playing Crying Shame and joking: “This one is about telephones” before playing Hung Up.
The last track of the night is the standout, with its thudding bassline intro, but as the gig ends without an encore, the sparse and vaguely disinterested audience haven’t connected and leave without a surefire hit wedging its way into their collective memory. It seems a shame to write a band off before they’ve released their debut album, but there’s just very little to cling on to here. Perhaps their songwriting skills will develop given time, but for now it’s hard to figure out exactly who will be getting excited when the album finally gets its release later this year.