2023 marks the 20th Anniversary of the long out of print first album from the Cheats, ‘Cheap Pills’ was the name and sleazy punk n roll was the name of the game and straight from the get go ‘Automatic Reaction’ signalled the charge. To celebrate the band enlisted new guitarist, Johnny Razorblade, to Re-EQ and remaster the original release and a sterling job he’s done and having a fresh set of ears on the songs was an inspired choice. It doesn’t end there though because they wanted to add value and plenty of bang for your bucks so they also added the original No Goods’ demo (which included a cover of The Joneses “Pill Box”) and a couple live tracks recorded on their recent spring tour with Riverside Odds. Screaming Crow Records also redesigned and upgraded the original “Cheap Pills” layout design.
Hell if you don’t dig the Ramones bop of the title track then you’ve landed on the wrong website because this is snotty as fuck and not having heard this album for a while I forgot how good it was. its no frills for sure, the riffs are dirty and nasty ‘Just Like You’ is a back alley brawl and as you dive into the album there are moments of unbridled joy as ‘5X Loser’ takes a slug before the Steve Jones ugly riff-a-rama kicks in. ‘Bombs Away’ is a banger reminding me of The Black Halos at their scuzziest and as my learned friend once told me that he was punk as fuck I’m sure he must have been listening to ‘Buzz Bomb’ when he had the realisation.
‘Young and Dumb’ has aged really well and then you enter the demo territory rapid and rough is always a great place to be and these bonus cuts are wild and reckless and well worth digging into especially their take on the Joneses classic ‘Pillbox’.
If you’ve never heard the band then this is a wonderful place to start and work backwards. where did all those wasted years go? right back to where it all began. Buy it!
Author: Dom Daley