The Cheeksters, the precipitate of a fortuitous love sparked by the chance encounter between two people on a London train, make music to be enjoyed. Twenty-two years into the band’s marriage, the latest release by Mark and Shannon Casson is another collection of familiar, fun and upbeat pop songs. The Golden Birds embraces the British Invasion sound with horn sections straight out of Magical Mystery Tour, a David Bowie vocal vibrato and a mix of dryly distorted guitars and Wurlitzer pianos, all backed by Mark’s thick British accent and clipped consonants.
“Who Said Life Would Be Easy” best represents the band’s ability to stir up classic sounds and conjure something redolent, but new and exciting in its homage. A phasered guitar riff drives the intro and the chanted lyrics give panache to the song, and even behind so many influences, you can hear The Cheeksters style develop under Mark’s kooky Englishman persona. It’s a nostalgia act, but that’s the appeal to The Cheeksters. The Golden Birds is full of radio-friendly sounds and its bubbly pace will probably make for a great car commercial aimed at hip 20-somethings.