It's refreshing to hear a band that's not trying to be clever or more innovative than its peers. That said, the straightahead power pop of the Fire Drills (featuring former Westword scribe Jason Heller) is a breath of fresh air. Cheap Lies, with its bouncy rhythms and sharp riffing, disproves the notion that catchy music needs to be entirely safe. Filtered through the forcefully melodic lens of the Jam, the nervy, scrappy energy of Stiff Little Fingers and the headlong pacing of the Buzzcocks, tracks like "Waste My Time" and "Good Riddance and Goodbye" sound like pop punk before it was watered down and given a lobotomy, while "Hole for a Heart" merges nostalgia, rejection, hopefulness, angst and catharsis into a bittersweet vibe resulting in a promising debut.
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