One Track Mind: Cheap Perfume, "Boys" (2012)

Share this:

No matter how tolerant we think we are, there’s still a degree of sexism in the weird, wonderful and wild world of rock and roll. Although it’s hardly shocking to see women playing the music now, the industry continues to be dominated by males.

Back in 1978, which was when Cheap Perfume formed, it truly was an anomaly for ladies to strap on electric guitars and wail away. Such a sight was even an oddity to view amid the burgeoning punk rock scene, a community that prided itself on individuality and freedom of expression. So one can only imagine how novel the New York City-based Cheap Perfume was. Nevertheless, the band landed plum gigs and are lovingly remembered by those lucky enough to catch their live shows.

Cheap Perfume remained a permanent fixture on the East Coast circuit until their demise in 1981. Despite the break up, most of the members thankfully stayed in music or at least some artistic medium. Rhythm guitarist Nancy Street has especially kept consistently busy in the biz. Better known as Nancy Heyman, she records and performs with her husband, Richard, he of the Doughboys and solo fame.

A few years ago, Cheap Perfume reunited and not only did they have a blast doing so, but they were extremely well received. Buoyed by such positive feedback, the ladies wisely decided it was high time they put together an album.

To tide us over until Cheap Perfume’s long-awaited debut disc arrives, they’re whetting out appetites with Boys, a one-track CD from Turn-Up Records of a pumping, jumping cover of a Shirelles song — popularized by the Beatles, of course. Lit by bushels of buzzsaw guitars, mobs of merry vocals and pulsating drum beats by the pound, Cheap Perfume recycles the tune with nonstop power and enthusiasm. By incorporating the raw, crazed and economical punk energy of the Ramones with wads of chewy, chewy bubblegum pop, the band wields a sound that’s fun, fetching and rocks like an earthquake.

Since Boys is sure to leave you begging for more, check out the band’s CDBaby page to download the equally exciting sonic kicks of “Too Bad,” “Ordinary Girls” and “Love Is Bittersweet,” which are slated to appear on the forthcoming Cheap Perfume album. Hooks by the handful, a neat mix of pop and punk elements, and an intoxicating vibe rule the roost here, which is always a good thing.

Let’s hear it for the return of Cheap Perfume!

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
Share this:
Close