Cheap Time have gone on record citing influence in Magazine and the Saints, and they've succeeded in pronouncing these influences well, their frontman and core Jeffrey Novak a sure vocal disciple of Howard Devoto and, more so on Wallpaper Music, Chris Bailey. Where 2010's Fantastic Explanations found Novak lazily slurring, as if to say, “I don't care,” Wallpaper Music sees him sneering and doing his ugliest impression of Bailey, as though he cares very much about looking indifferent. It's punk by numbers, and by this point, he's got it down pat.
This is quite possibly his – and Cheap Time's – biggest dilemma, that there's little room for innovation in punk rock as it has been up to this point, and that once you've got it nailed, there's little else to do with it, very few places you can go with it to make yourself stand out. Cheap Time's live show is quite quick and to the point; Wallpaper Music seems to be the first Cheap Time record thus far that comes close to mimicking that impatience and doesn't have the filler that their last record did. It sees a consistent jump in influences over its first three tracks alone, from early rock 'n roll, to handclap-filled power pop, to psych rock, all the while sounding somehow cohesive and yet, not quite forging any new paths. But it has a good amount of bite, and it seems that the longer the band goes on, the more their increasing impatience will influence their style for the better. [In The Red]
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