The extremely likeable blend of straightforward rock, punk pop and college radio makes Cheap Girls a highly listenable proposition and ‘God’s Ex-Wife’ is a rough and ready collection of B-sides and rarities from Michigan’s finest that slipped under the radar.
As a collection of off-cuts spanning the first nine years of the band’s career, it’s a veritable melting pot of sounds and vibes. We get everything from original demos, like the raw ‘Stop Now’ to driving pop punk on the rocking alternative full band version of ‘Cored to Empty’, and rough and ready acoustic workouts on ‘I Know, Right’.
It’s all very enjoyable, although the first few tracks, like the mid-tempo indie rock of ‘Twice As Much’ and the disjointed ‘Dim Lights’, don’t really offer anything spectacular. Things really start to pick up with the dirty riffing of ‘The Same Thing’ where everything comes together a little better and even more so on ‘7-8 Years’, which is a particularly cool blend of acoustic and electric guitars that gives it an emotional intensity otherwise lacking on other tracks.
By the time we get to the storming cover of Bad Religion’s ‘Kerosene’, a noisy rocker with a catchy chorus, everything is firing on all cylinders. Yet nothing is quite as coolly unusual as the ’Find Me a Drink Home Version’ of ‘Sunnyside’, with its striking combination of marching band rhythms and guitar distortion.
All in all this is an enjoyable collection; sure there are probably a number of songs that will resonate more with long running fans of the band, but it also serves as an interesting introduction to a likeable group.
‘God’s Ex-Wife’ by Cheap Girls is released on September 16th on Asian Man Records.
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)