By Jhoni Jackson
Though they hail from the garage-punk hotbed of Nashville, Cheap Time is far more complex than that. Many of their genre counterparts are excellent bands in their own right, but oftentimes they rely more on attitude than musicianship. Jeffrey Novak, Cheap Time’s frontman, boasts both.
Even through decidedly lo-fi recordings, the intricacy of Novak’s guitar work is at the forefront. Well, almost. That’s where the ‘tude comes in. Alongside glam, snotty is a recurring descriptor for Cheap Time. On Wallpaper Music, the band’s third LP, Novak sounds his best—and his snottiest.
“Your personality comes out in the way that you choose to sing, I guess. I’ve tried a lot of different ways of singing since I was a teenager,” Novak explains. “I guess I’m most comfortable with the way I sing now—it’s the most natural voice I’ve ever sang in.”
Much of Cheap Time’s tunes are catchy, but far from bright and sunny. They’re darker in tone, harsh and pounding at times, and executed with a snarl. Lyrically, Cheap Time is similarly sinister, often expressing distaste and disgust for people.
“A lot of the records are dealing with me, trying to figure out other people—and I guess trying to figure out myself through that,” he says.
Novak admits it’s not very positive music. There’s still that glimmer of glam in there, however, and the melodies are absolutely infectious. That clash is likely why Cheap Time stands so distinct.
Check out Cheap Time at the EARL tomorrow night with Useless Eaters, also from Nashville, plus Atlanta’s Barreracudas and Turf War.