The Brisbane based band Cheap Date has only been going at it for six months or so, but they sound remarkably well-adjusted to the whole rock band schema. Well-adjusted and well-balanced. That is, Beside Me, the band’s debut track, sounds as self-assured as a young indie- rock act can sound at the preliminary stages. Sure, there are some rough edges—who would want these discarded anyway, right?—but the edges are there along with the teasing melodic strains, the soft yet ethereally so vocals, and the sensitivity. That is a lyrical sensitivity that results in an above-average lyric and not some lame bunch of lines that are so thin and narrow they veer perilously close to condescension.
Led by artist Lara Dee on vocals and guitar and featuring Flynn Donaldson (lead guitar), Willow Giles (drums), Brian Butcher (keys) and Harry Shakespeare (bass), the Beside Me is an ode to high school heartbreak and the allure of hooking up with that wrong person—who can’t relate to that? Beside Me explores emotional anxiety yet does so with a healthy dollop of tongue in cheek, and nifty imagery, such as Love always seems to take my time / It’s got a child’s state of mind / like it’s waiting in a toyshop line. Indeed! And who wants to wait in any line? The track utilises a guitar-driven rock sensibility to underscore some decent melodies; after one cycle of verse, pre, chorus etc., the band powers up, along with the dreamy textural layers, allowing a more replete, verified rock trip to begin—and it’s all performed with a startling level of confidence.
This combination of 90s powered pop-rock thrills and a more considered lyric is no surprise when you hear what Lara has to say about it, as she explains, ‘One of the major messages in this music is the normalisation of feeling attraction toward men and woman. Beside Me is about a male and a heterosexual relationship; however, the music to come tells my story in more depth.’ That music is in the form of an EP, due out soon. As Lara says, ‘We have big things coming. We are releasing the second single (or the second episode). We plan to release the full EP (almost like a small book) at the end of the year.’
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