Just over two years ago, Cherry Glazerr released their their third album, the earth-shattering ‘Apocalypstick’. Released on January 20, the same day as Donald Trump’s inauguration as the leader of the free world, the context imbuing the garage rock album with new meaning. ‘Instagratification’, for instance, was a timely swipe at murky at soul-destroying, democracy-bothering apps.
2019 sees Cherry Glazerr in a different place. Clementine Creevy (lead guitar and vocals) is the remaining founding member, with Devin O’Brien replacing Sasami Ashworth, who has left the band to pursue a solo career. That social context meant that ‘Apocalypstick’ became inadvertently an outward-looking attempt to “trying to solve the world’s problems” as an “over-confident teenager”, Creevy has said, but new album ‘Stuffed & Ready’ sees the focus turn inwards.
“I’m a much more weary and perhaps a more cynical woman who believes you need to figure your own self out first,” Creevy said with the announcement of this record. That’s not a PR shtick, you sense, as this album features her most relatable and visceral songwriting to date. ‘Self Explained’ sees Creevy distance herself from the last album’s resonance with the wider world: “I put up cinderblocks to take away the pain / I separated from society today,” she sings on one of the album’s more restrained moments. Likewise, on ‘That’s Not My Real Life’, she speaks of being stuck “here in the ground but I want to untie myself” while the world rushes around her.
The DIY spirit that made their name as LA’s noisiest teenagers simmers quietly, but these songs are far removed from those chaotic early releases. Instead, it’s their most mature and measured album, both lyrically and musically. If released decades earlier, ‘Ohio’ would likely be a rock radio heavyweight, with its spirit rooted in some of Hole’s most unleashed moments. You can recognise Sonic Youth and Pixies in second-half highlight ‘Stupid Fish’, where Creevy once more admits that she doesn’t have all the answers: “I don’t want to try to pretend, like I know what’s happening / I’m a stupid fish and so are you”.
By turning that focus inwards on ‘Stuffed and Ready’, Creevy’s soul-searching resonates, and leaves a bigger imprint than anything they’ve done before. They can’t save the planet, but they might just help you save yourself a little bit.