Entering my fifth month of quarantine, I can’t help but get a little bit restless (well, to be honest, the restlessness started around week one). It turns out that, as nice as it sounds, a person can only sit in bed for so many days doing nothing before they start to lose their mind. Despite my best efforts to keep my mind occupied, I’ve found that my body could use some attention, too. Thankfully, my main hobby in life (music) isn’t one that only stimulates the mind, but also the body.
When you’re feeling sad, you put on some sad music to feel through your pains. When you’re feeling happy, you put on some happy music to help yourself make the most of the moment. So, what do you do when you’re feeling lazy and cramped up inside a house? Well, you put on some body-thrashing punk rock, of course.
The moment you press play on Sprints’ “The Cheek,” you are transported back to a time when punk rock was an underground genre unknown by most. Leading in with a classic drum beat on the floor tom and snare, the bass quickly joins in with a (in punk fashion) simplistic yet tasteful line. Lead singer, Karla Chubb, begins recounting the story of meeting a man during a night out. Painting her words like a story unfolding in front of you, Chubb recalls, “He said do you wanna / do you wanna / do you wanna / do you wanna go home?”
A subtle distorted guitar begins chugging away. Before giving her the opportunity to respond, he enters his next line of questioning, “He said baby are you straight?” To which Chubb, with a clever use of wordplay, responds, “Bi, bye, bye.” After the second time around, the rejection lifts the song off into an explosive chorus. Every instrument turns up the distortion and begins to play loud. Despite realizing the type of man this is, she gives him credit, “Oh, the cheek / At least tries” and later on, “Oh, the cheek / Oh, god he tries.”
Once the chorus comes to an end, we enter a new type of verse with even more stripped-down instrumentals than the first one. With an effective four-on-the-floor kick drum pattern, which is joined by the rest of the band at the end of each section, Chubb thinks over her options, coming to the conclusion that maybe she could get something out of this after all, “Maybe I wanna / maybe I wanna / maybe I wanna / maybe I wanna go sin.” Further complimenting the man, showing how she has gone from despising to accepting to desiring him, she sings, “He’s got an unshakable confidence and I’ll give him that / and a body like a statue sculpted by an aristocrat.” Despite this, she overcomes her temporary feelings, “Fought the futile feelings, went to smoke outside.”
After a second chorus, we’re led to the bridge. With all of the instruments stripped away, we are again left with that classic four-on-the-floor kick drum pattern. This time, it’s accompanied with a singing guitar note (which reminds me of the bridge of Green Day’s “Welcome to Paradise”). Further discussing her internal conflict about this man, it almost seems as if Chubb is now trying to talk herself into taking the risk, “And I know that it’s bad / and I know that he’s bad / but don’t you wanna be bad?” We get one more opportunity to run around our room rocking out with the final chorus, and then the song comes to a grinding halt. Just as quickly as the air filled with sound and energy, it dissipates.
A well needed change of pace, Sprints’ “The Cheek” brings everything you could ask for out of a modern punk song. While it digs into the past for that classic sound, it does not sound dated by any means. The saying goes, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!” That rings true for this track. If you’re in need of an energetic song to get you out of bed and moving around, like I was, give it a try. I guarantee you won’t be able to stand still.
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