CHERUBS Immaculada High gets 8/10



Austin, Texas band Cherubs have been a vital part of the noise rock scene with their own kind of fuzzy and lo-fi sound that seemed more destructive and tortured than their contemporaries. Despite this being their fourth album, they were active in the scene during its heyday in the early 90s, before they disbanded and then regrouped after two decades apart. Now, Cherubs are careful not to sound exactly like they did, yet they also want to retain what made them an essential band.

On previous albums, it sounded like the entire band was coming from one mainlined sound. This newer effort still has the sound of all instruments being smushed together, given an even more underwater sound than before. But the guitar is often given the main focus, particularly when it’s operating on its own for the fuzzy or squealing transitions from one track to another, superbly gluing them all together and making sure there’s sonic cohesion all throughout this album. Singer-guitarist Kevin Whitley can manipulate his guitar to emulate all sorts of different textures, all of them murky and dirty.

Good luck trying to discern the lyrics in his called-out vocals, as they’re buried in the mix, yet also sound hauntingly prominent, as if their subjugation makes your ears focus in on them more – the more they’re suffocated from the instruments, the more they try to arise.

Tigers in the Sky quickly reaches a noisily hysteric zenith and keeps itself there for the rest of the track. It contrasts well with the following Imcg, which coasts on more of a gentle fuzz, though that breather track doesn’t have quite the same retained energy as the slower and more deliberate Breath U Can C.

Immaculada High is a muddy and obscure listen that demands involved ears to discern and unstick the tracks apart. It’s definitely worth a listen to any guitar fanatics and pedal-heads out there, the level of craftsmanship of this instrument and the many sounds and moods it can evoke is the MVP here, with the vocals, bass, drumming and quality lo-fi mixing supporting it as best they can.