Release Date: Oct 5, 2010
Record label: In the Red Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Discussing the Los Angeles punk rock scene, Rodney Bingenheimer once opined, "Punk is just dirty glitter," and while Jeffrey Novak's hometown of Henderson, TN is a long way from L.A., he sure seems to have taken Bingenheimer's theory to heart. Novak's band Cheap Time sound rough, snotty, and urgent on their second album, Fantastic Explanations (And Similar Situations), but the defiant shrug in this music's attitude could have come from T. Rex, Alice Cooper, or the New York Dolls, and the raunchy guitar figures, swaggering melodies, and tempos more suited to hair swinging than the pogo strongly suggests Novak's greatest influences aren't just old-school punks but older-school glam rockers.
It's a little too easy to compare Jeffrey Novak's musical arc to Jay Reatard's. Both are (or, sadly, in the case of Reatard, were) Tennesee-based garage rock musicians who have managed to accumulate several projects to their names. Both have recorded material as one-man bands before moving on to full band settings. It is at this point where the two artists split.
You may have missed it in the wave of like-sounding garage rock records released around the same time, but Cheap Time’s full-length self-titled debut was a jagged, catchy little booger, a buzzing distillation of sneering, bubble-gum vocals, blown-out bass, and chintzy fuzz boxes. In short, it was a near-perfect pop-punk record, owing its considerable charm less to originality than to pure guts and pop vigor. The band’s followup, Fantastic Explanations (and Similar Situations), doesn’t go out of its way to sound different from its predecessor.