Cheezface is a trio-based unit from the United States. It was founded by its main man Bryan Stancil in '05, and, according to the promo-leaflet, has released twelve albums since. This, however, is the band's first pro-CD-release. As a short description, the band plays dark, twisted and slightly humorous type of IDM.
The album's source sounds were recorded at over a hundred bathrooms and truck stops. This source material was then re-mixed, altered, twisted and perverted to create a basis for the songs. The band used some electronic guitar and bass as well, along with both mechanical and real drums, movie samples, modular synthesizers and manipulated vocals. Shortly said, I had no idea what to expect from the album. After getting acquainted with the promotional sheet, it was time to dive into the music itself.
As of now, I've listened to the album for well over ten times and I'm still not sure what to think of it - a fact partly resulting from my shallow knowledge of the IDM-genre in general. The first nine songs are between a minute and three minutes long collages of different kinds of fast beats, really vast, plump and professional-sounding bass frequencies, and so much detail that I still keep finding new elements in the songs after all these listens. A song might open up with a simple electronic beat that has some synth-like pattern backing it, but soon gets coated in a number of smaller nuances; some ambient-like howling sounds in the distance, odd vocal squeals, metallic clangs, and pretty much everything you can expect appearing from nowhere.
Right after you think you've gotten a hang of a song's structure, a sudden movie-sample might appear and turn its direction altogether. The songs vary from twisted ambient-bits to something akin to really violent grindcore, but done with electronic elements. The songs are usually based on a number of loops overlapping each other, with their entangled form being sprinkled with sudden twists and spices in the form of additional sound-bits, but by saying that I would be oversimplifying the songs' unpredictability. There's some almost poppy and cheery electronica, which might be backed with eerie ambience until it turns into a hostile creature of various fast-paced beats. Some samples of a violin are thrown in a couple of times to give the whole album a less cold feel, and to further avoid conventionality.
The last two songs are of a bit calmer and less in-your-face kind, which gives the album at least a kind of a structure; the predecessing nine songs are the journey, and the last two are just a bit softer landing back to the real world. The album is unpredictable, jokingly arrogant and playful at the same time; it goes where it wants to go, without explanations or excuses to be heard. From violence to oddity.
I'm not at all fond of the band's name, but after hearing the album I think it kind of fits their expression; it's a bad joke that arrogantly exists, without caring for others' opinions. The track titles are filled with similar humour, which might lead one to thinking that Cheezface is a joke band. In a way it is, sure, but it's also a band that makes seriously considerable music. The cover arts are a modernized take on medieval plague-themed paintings, and I think that their twisted but humorous atmosphere fits the music well. The album has a really professional, deep and detailed soundscape, too, so you can hear everything that's going on. Especially the bass frequencies are a pleasure to listen to. The soundscape allows both strength and detail, and fits the album's approach well.
Cheezface doesn't try to convince anyone about anything. The band simply does their thing and wanders off. Despite the reservations I originally had towards the album, it turned out to be a really recommendable purchase for anyone into modern experimental electronic music. I would like to hear a longer, stronger and overall more forceful album from these fellows in the future - one that would make a strong impact the moment you've heard it for the first time, and not solely/mostly due to it being so bizarre.