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Cheena — Cheena 7″


Cheena is a brand-new New York five-piece signed to Sacred Bones. Their self-titled debut 7” record is seven-and-a-half energetic minutes of country-tinged, gritty punk. Cheena is not an especially adventurous release, but it is well-executed all the same, and successful in evoking the sounds of their predecessors.

Although their profile on Sacred Bones’ website cites the Sex Pistols and Slade as influences, I hear quite a bit of George Harrison in Cheena’s guitar stylings, almost as if All Things Must Pass was being done by an early iteration of Black Sabbath. It’s an alluring sound, and the guitar work and vocals are consistently excellent throughout the release. Leadoff track “Dreaming” exhibits this well—it immediately grabbed my attention with its hard-panned slide guitar (which is an unusual touch for the genre and sounds very cool in headphones) and dramatic punk vocals. “Cats in Plastic Bags” also features the slide, but in an even stranger role—mimicking a cat’s meow. It’s both funny and impressive.

One quibble for me is Cheena’s rhythm section—it is fairly weak and uneven in a genre that really benefits from strong, propulsive drumbeats. This is especially evident on the intro of “Did I Tell You Last Night,” where the wavering beat provides an underwhelming start to an otherwise standout track, complete with a satisfyingly twisty chord progression, two fantastic lead-guitar parts, and a solid vocal performance. A better drummer could push this band to another level. Still, Cheena provides a nice, aggressive addition to the New York scene. I hope they go on tour—I would love to see the cat guitar reproduced live. Featuring members of Crazy Spirit and Pharmakon.

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