“It’s about wanting to smash Donald Trump’s orange fuckin’ head into a brick wall!” Clementine Creevy is quoted as saying in a press release for a single off Apocalipstick, Cherry Glazerr’s second album, released Inauguration Day 2017. Creevy’s been serving a classic punk rock attitude since the band’s humble, high school beginnings. The lead guitarist/vocalist was only 16 years old when the group released their full-length debut Haxel Princess (2014) – an album which saw the teen croon about everything from PMS to grilled cheese sandwiches. Sure, it’s not the most profound material ever recorded, but it was never trying to be. In fact, the lack of fucks given only seemed to make the music cooler. The band’s style has forever been unapologetic, and their third full length release, Stuffed & Ready is no exception.
Though there is one difference. At 22 years old, Creevy’s world no longer consists of high school dances. Instead, try sexism, discrimination and dubious political leadership. It’s a bleak reality, but also fine fuel for sharp, furious punk rock. Stuffed & Ready is an exercise in catharsis, as Creevy shapes her resentment, frustration, and self-loathing into a concise, calculated album.
In the record’s opening minutes, Cherry Glazerr introduce us to their new, heavier sound. Joined by drummer Tabor Allen and bassist Devin Hynes (and notably without synth player Sasami Ashworth, who left the band last year to pursue a solo career), opener “Ohio” sees Creevy’s electrifying lead guitar pierce through thundering percussion and layered, dissonant chords. Her glossy soprano balances with the gritty production, at once sounding both weary and wistful as she sighs, “just take me away”.
Stuffed & Ready is an intrinsically feminine record, as Creevy disassembles and inspects the place of woman in the modern world, piece by piece. On “Daddi”, she channels her inner-child to satirically sound the helpless, dependent victim, before bursting the façade open with seething howls of “don’t hold my hand, don’t be my man”. There’s an unnerving sense of entrapment amongst eerie synths and mechanical percussion, proof that Creevy isn’t here to be polite, she’s here to challenge.
On “Wasted Nun”, her rage erupts in aggressive down strums and a combative snarl. With caustic lyrical barbs like “special lady with her issues, you can sue if I kiss you,” Creevy steadily points a finger at the patriarchy. However, amongst the burning resentment, there is little empowerment to be found. With the cynical cry of “I’m a wasted nun, and I don’t have fun,” the singer doesn’t sugar coat, but it’s this hard-hitting honesty that gives Stuffed & Ready its edge.
With the arrival of “That’s Not My Real Life”, Creevy begins to turn her focus inward, struggling between the desire for freedom and the pressure to conform. “I don’t know what struck me here in the ground, but I want to untie myself,” she yearns at one moment, while calling to be punished in the next. The band’s surreal instrumentation plays into the tension, with guest Delicate Steve injecting his eclectic energy into the sleek, fast-paced production. Creevy bears more clarity on follow up “Self Explained”, laying out her insecurities in blatant plain-speak; “I don’t want people to know how much time I spend alone”. Candid as ever, Creevy recognises herself an outcast, the burden of any rebel. She lets out her anguish on “Isolation”, as a smooth “Feeling Good”-like bassline leads into a frenzied chorus of pummelling drums, raw distorted guitar and Creevy’s cries of “don’t let go”.
At the midpoint of the album, Creevy begins to pull out of the self-depreciating spiral, refocusing her energy on the outside world. Lead single “Juicy Socks” is a more conventional protest anthem, swaying between ghostly psychedelica and fuzzy garage. As Creevy innocently explains; “I don’t want nobody hurt, but I made an exception with him,” it’s soon clear she’s not talking about a lover, but instead her president. Follow up “Pieces” adds to the breathing room with minimal production, while Creevy’s flat, smoky soprano assures her audience that “nobody is chasing us” – an unsettling satire of those who seek to invalidate Creevy’s fight.
“Stupid Fish” marks the heaviest performance Cherry Glazerr give, burning with stomping percussion and aggressive electric shredding. The patient ‘loud-quiet’ structure keeps the song balanced between wildness and control, ensuring that Creevy’s words remain centre stage. As she comes to realise that perhaps her faults are not her fault, you hear her frustration begin boil over before erupting in an epic scream; “I see myself in you and that’s why I fucking hate you!” It’s a liberating and somewhat triumphant moment, sealed with a cascading riff and cathartic passion so strong it could leave cracks in the glass ceiling.
Creevy reads out Stuffed & Ready like a storybook, giving each character a voice, and using them to explain a bigger picture. The result is a complex, striking narrative, detailing a young woman’s struggle to emancipate herself from a controlling world with nothing but loneliness as a reward. There’s a pervasive sense of dread and tension throughout the album’s ten compelling tracks, intended to ruffle feathers and provoke thought.
Stuffed & Ready is released Friday 1st February via Secretly Canadian