The Michigan-based 3-piece Cheap Girls has been inching up the ladder of wide-scale releases since their 2008 debut. Meanwhile, they’ve also been sounding better with every record. Their latest, Giant Orange, offers a solid round-up of the band’s strengths, in a quick-paced album of unassuming guitar rock. To a lot of us, I suspect, it’ll offer a welcome look back at summers spent with Dinosaur Jr. and Teenage Fanclub albums; While the album is firmly rooted in the present, Cheap Girls manage to call on that same unaffected, slackerly charm that puts me in mind of the better college rock of the 90s.
It’s also an album that probably took a lot more work than the performers ever let on. The single “Ruby” is a fair taste of the rest of the album’s pace and tone, but the breadth in the songwriting is very ‘just right’—they clearly aren’t afraid to experiment, but they also know just how far to wander. There are the clear fingerprints of a folkie’s education in guitar rock, here, but nothing so traditional as to become impersonal. This is a band that knows how to put its personal stamp on a sound gracefully. Giant Orange sets such a casual mood, it’s easy to miss the number of difficult things they get right. Not least among them: Making this look easy.
The new album and related merch are available here.