Saturday, September 4, 2010

In The Sixties People Would Have Called This Groovy

Cherry Coke is a trio formed by Mat Bethancourt (Josiah, Kings Of Frog Island, The Beginning). This band plays some great 60's inspired Psychedelic Garage. I did post two singles of Cherry Choke some earlier here. This is the full-length debut album. It contains ten great songs. It reminds me a bit of the bands Cream and Blue Cheer. I think you can call it "groovy"! Enjoy!

Guitarist/vocalist Mat Bethancourt, also of Josiah and The Kings of Frog Island, now joins bassist/backing vocalist Gregg Hunt and drummer Dan Lockton in Cherry Choke, a garage rocking power trio whose self-titled debut album revels in its simplicity and rootsy flavor.

Split even on CD into sides one and two, Cherry Choke offers ten straightforward tracks wherein the fuzzy tone that’s come to be expected from Bethancourt in Josiah and The Kings of Frog Island mostly takes a back seat to a cleaner type of distortion akin to the ’70s-inspired indie that’s dominated the party rock ideal for the better part of this decade. If I said Cherry Choke takes inspiration from Hendrix, The Stooges, MC5 and T-Rex, it would be the same as saying “they play garage rock,” but there it is.

There are some hits and some misses throughout the album, but the memorable “Ride My Black Balloon,” at track three, is the first real showing of Cherry Choke at their best. Somewhat less frantic than “She Turns Me On” and “The Lie,” which come right before it, the repetition of the title line drills it into your head so that you start repeating it, mantra-like, without even realizing. Though “Reflections in Black” is both more distorted and more aggressive, “Ride My Black Balloon” still remains the strongest number on the side one. The short psychedelic instrumental “Jezebel” helps to divide Cherry Choke and set the tone for the album’s broader-reaching second half.

Side two begins with “Cheetah,” which fits well alongside side one’s more forthright cuts, but it’s with “I Can See the Girls Grow,” with a further back vocal from Bethancourt and a deeper guitar sound — one that still bounces along at a fairly good clip — that Cherry Choke commences its expansion. The last three tracks, beginning with the most Hendrixian “The Need,” are unmistakably the highlights of the record. “The Need” balances the fuzz with the swagger and is the first real instance since “Ride My Black Balloon” in which Cherry Choke’s songwriting seems to be in focus. While other tracks have a frivolous, spontaneous, jammed-out appeal, there’s no denying the solo in “The Need” is well constructed and immaculately executed. Leading into the faster “In My Mind” and instrumental closer “Fridays in June,” the album’s close presents its brightest moments.

Cherry Choke has enough of Bethancourt’s style and sound to please fans of his previous work, but pushes in a direction altogether different. Nonetheless, they are an organic-sounding trio with Hunt and Lockton offering much in the way of striking classic rock rhythms and a couple genuinely remarkable tracks on their debut, well suited to whatever outdoor chicanery you might be getting up to this summer.

(By JJ Koczan at

Cherry Choke - Cherry Choke (2009)


Jody Frosty said...

sounds like The Nazz, isn't it?


Insane Riez said...

The Nazz? Never heard of it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! The singles were tasty, let's check out this shit.