Rotten Cheri: Howard Alper (Drums), Stephanie St. Hilaire (Vocals), Kee Chung (Guitar)
I know there are a number of people out there who pine for the goo
d old days of No Doubt around the time of Tragic Kingdom when Gwen Stefani’s music was a lot more fun and a lot less mind-numbingly simplistic than “Hollaback Girl.” Well, fortunately for all of you, today’s band has that fun, lively attitude in spades and they manage to mix it in with the slightly more aggressive stylings of Garbage. Rotten Cheri is a threesome from Brooklyn with a refreshingly upbeat sound that will really bring you back to the pop-influenced alternative rock that was popular in the mid to late 90’s. *WARNING!! Old codger comment ahead!* It’s certainly better than all that emo crap the kids listen to nowadays.
Anyway, Rotten Cheri is one of those bands that has “it.” They’ve got really catchy, evocative rhythms, provided by adept guitarist Kee Chung and bangin’ drummer Harold Alper, and a strong lead singer, Stephanie St. Hilaire, who exudes personality and attitude with her powerfully sensuous voice, probably because she sounds extraordinarily like Gwen Stefani. But I think Stephanie St. Hilaire is a much cooler name than Gwen Stefani or even Shirley Manson for that matter, so she gets bonus points in my book.
Moving on, Rotten Cheri’s debut album 02 has that No Doubt sound I was talking about minus the heavy ska influences plus the integration of some electronic ambience that made Garbage so distinctive. “Things I Hate,” the second track off the album, shows that combination well. It has that zesty, playful attitude of No Doubt with a hint of Garbage’s rougher edge and their bent towards electronica. One song that is a little more like the latter band than the former is “Get Out Go Away,” which is a lot more somber and more obviously influenced by electronica with its synthesized string section.
But just in general, Rotten Cheri is just a great band to sit down and listen to, especially if you wish more bands would make music like the popular alternative rockers did in the 90’s. 02 has no weak tracks on it and, despite being a little less than half an hour long, is well worth a purchase based on the strength in quality of the music. It’s one of those albums that could loop a few times and I wouldn’t get tired of it. It sounds great the first time through and grows on you after each listen. And having played Rock Band a fair amount in the past few weeks, I kept thinking to myself as I was listening to these songs, “Hey, this would make for good downloadable content for Rock Band.” I mean, this is the kind of upbeat, rockin’ music that a game like that needs. Unfortunately, I suppose Rotten Cheri is a little too obscure for Harmonix and MTV to bother with.
Purchase 02 by Rotten Cheri
Rotten Cheri – Things I Hate
Rotten Cheri – Get Out Go Away
Rotten Cheri – Under Control
To find out more information about Rotten Cheri, visit their MySpace page.
…Wait, how can I make old codger comments if I’m only 25?