Originally published in Punk Planet May/June 2006
Cheer-Accident – Enduring The American Dream
If America ever needs a soundtrack to serve as its death knell, I vote for this obscure 1997 gem from Chicago’s ruling experimental collective. Funeral dirges collide with angular post-punk pressure-cookers. Noisy Minimalist drones wed somber piano ballads. Experimental prog refrains bleed into static and prepared chaos.
And, through it all, Thymme Jones calmly disembowels contemporary America, brow-beating multinational corporations with his polished, almost theatrical voice as he critiques materialism and rampant consumerism as the yin and yang of western religions. (“The public and private sectors collide/ as the corporations buy up the night,” he sings at point, his falsetto stretched over a lo-fi recording of a lonely, distant piano. “We lie under the sign and embrace/ as they sell us the old dream of a new god.”)
But, it’s the bizarre sonic landscape Cheer-Accident sculpts here that truly may sell the message: the way biting lyrics in catchy refrains are thrown off their linear courses by pounded pianos, segues laced with ear-piercing feedback and choral flourishes, or the frequent interjection of found sounds and blasts of punk/prog noise. It’s an unnerving portrait of an American nightmare, but also the ideal introduction to a band that’s required listening for anyone seeking an education in underground music.
Currently breaking silence with Maker’s Mark and… Neutral Milk Hotel, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea; Will Oldham, Ode Music; UI, Lifelike; Rapeman, Two Nuns and A Pack Mule; Melvins, Hostile Ambient Takeover