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Dan Vapid And The Cheats - Two (Album Review)

Wednesday, 07 August 2013 Written by Huw Baines

If you know who Dan Vapid is, then you know what to expect from 'Two', his sophomore effort with the Cheats. Whether as a member of Screeching Weasel, the Riverdales or the Methadones, Vapid has always been a reliable purveyor of high-quality, super catchy pop-punk.

After exiting Screeching Weasel in the wake of Ben Weasel's SXSW meltdown, Vapid is now on to his second outing with the Cheats – made up of Screeching Weasel's Simon Lamb, the Methadones' Mike Soucy and Rick Uncapher of Noise By Numbers – and it's business as usual. 'Two' is comprised of 12 short, sharp power-pop gems rattled off in under half an hour. 

With Matt Allison (Alkaline Trio, the Menzingers, Less Than Jake) on co-production and engineering duty, 'Two' is more direct and possesses more of a sheen than the band's self-titled debut, but retains Vapid's quick-fire delivery and all-encompassing love for throwback melodies.

Bursting into life with I'm A Contrarian, the record barely stops to catch breath before slinking into the night on the back of a rare slow one in A Long Way. Miracle Drug boasts a chorus and harmonies that would earn a nod of approval from Brian Wilson, while Cold And Rainy Days shows further melodic nous with '50s-influenced backing vocals and a yearning lead from Vapid.

The pace is picked up on Live It Down, Invader and Killing Me With Kindness, all of which will provoke sweaty mayhem live, while If You're Not Happy You Should Go is destined for many a singalong. In a world saturated with processed beats, these are pop songs to hang on to. 

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