Cheap Time Fantastic Explanations (and Similar Situations)

The second full-length from Nashville, TN's Cheap Time deserves its own fantastic explanation. As the band were recording the album, engineer Mike McHugh suffered a nervous breakdown, pulled a gun on the band and booted them from the studio. It took a month to get the tapes, but once they did, Cheap Time enlisted the help of former Sparks member Earle Mankey to finish the job. Fantastic Explanations (and Similar Situations) benefits greatly from its second chance. Too glam to be garage and too garage to be glam, Cheap Time's quandary from their first self-titled effort hasn't been resolved, but Jeffrey Novak's songwriting has strengthened. Like a sour piece of bubblegum, Novak's tunes are bittersweet gems that have been chewed up, spat out and stuck to a wall, yet still have plenty of flavour left. Unlike the surplus of garage punk out there, Cheap Time's songs are distinguishable, like the gang chanting "whoas" on "Miss Apparent" and the choral boost on the snotty chorus of album standout "I'd Rather Be Alone." That it even saw the light of day is remarkable, but Fantastic Explanations is worthy of a listen regardless of its awesome back-story. (In The Red)